No AFLW Premiership was awarded last year, but the league has stated that crowning a 2021 champion is a top priority given the ongoing challenges presented by COVID-19

Rivals Carlton and Collingwood will face each other in the first AFL women’s game since the end of the 2020 season last March after the opening week of the finals at Ikon Park on Thursday evening

The undefeated leader Fremantle had cut his flag dreams short due to the coronavirus pandemic, with Melbourne, North Melbourne and the Blues also being canceled

The men’s 2020 season closed despite numerous setbacks, but AFLW chief Nicole Livingstone claims she never worried that the fifth edition of the women’s competition might not take place

“Every time we have faced the AFL commission, they have more than supported AFLW 2021,” Livingstone said

“Your commitment to making sure that not only is the season closed, but a premiere crowned this year, is 100 percent – more than 100 percent if possible””

Worn by a great final in 2019 and a stormy end to last season, Carlton is the favorite to take his first AFLW flag

“I think Carlton will be very, very hard to beat, I felt like they were the best team we played against last year and I think they’ll only get better,” said Melbourne- Captain Daisy Pearce opposite AAP

Collingwood co-captain Brianna Davey, who began her career with the Blues, agrees with the Demons midfielder but also believes the Adelaide double premier will pose another threat

“But sometimes with AFLW you think a thing and a dark horse can get away with it,” said Davey

Only the first two weekends of the nine-round home and away game are suspended and the league will have to adapt to changing health restrictions in Australia

Greater Western Sydney moved to southern NSW before moving to Adelaide to prepare for the season opener against Fremantle after COVID-19 cases increased in their home state

AFLW players are still semi-professional and are compensated for the loss of work when they have to move away temporarily to play

“We were pleased to reach an agreement with the AFLPA on a player relocation rate If they have to move, they will be compensated for it in addition to their AFLW contracts, ”said Livingstone

In the event of a victory for players and fans, the league scrapped the controversial conference system with a ladder to sort the 14 teams

The conference system was introduced in 2019 and resulted in some weaker teams reaching the finals

AFLW games are on for the first time, and the Richmond clash with the Brisbane Lions at Punt Rd on Sunday has already been declared sold out


World News – AU – Undefeated AFLW leaders ranked rivals as new Premier League favorites