Best On Ground: Good riddance to AFLW conferences

STANDOUT: St Kilda's Georgia Patrikios is one of the AFLW's emerging players. Picture: Getty Images
STANDOUT: St Kilda's Georgia Patrikios is one of the AFLW's emerging players. Picture: Getty Images

THEAFLW conference system is gone. Good riddance.

There will be one ladder, 14 teams and nine home-and-away rounds in season 2021.

It's not perfect, as not every side will play each other once, but it erases the confusion of following two ladders and eliminates debate.

"I think the one ladder is really good. I think most of the players didn't particularly like the conference system too much," North Melbourne star Emma Kearney told The Standard.

"There is always that conjecture, one conference being stronger than the other."

The competition also hopes to have a premier after coronavirus restrictions forced an abrupt end earlier this year.

AFLW is entering its fifth season.

It's come a long way in a short space of time and the standard will only increase as more and more footballers who got the opportunity to play uninterrupted throughout their teenage years, unlike many of their predecessors, are drafted.

The junior pathways for girls are now inline with the boys' programs.

We are already seeing the benefits with female footballers honing their skills in the NAB League and state competitions across Australia.

Players like classy St Kilda youngster Georgia Patrikios, exciting Fremantle tall Roxy Roux and 2020 league best and fairest Madison Prespakis, who is still only 20, will help build the competition's appeal.

Bounce down is January 28.

This week's edition of Best On Ground was written by Warrnambool Standard journalist Justine McCullagh-Beasy.

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This story Good riddance to AFLW conferences first appeared on The Standard.