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AFLW: Longer 2019 season still an option

A fixture that would allow each team to play each other once is still an option for the 2019 AFL Women's season.

The AFL head of women's football, Nicole Livingstone, said it was one of several options debated at the first meeting of the 14-strong AFLW Competition Committee – made up of club, player and AFL representatives – held in Melbourne on Tuesday.

"We had a discussion about the fixturing process. Clearly this has had quite a bit of attention in the last little while," said Livingstone, referring to reports last Friday that the 2019 season would feature only six matches per team, plus two weeks of finals. 

"I'd like to make it really clear that no decisions have or had been made about the 2019 fixture and beyond," she said.

Livingstone said the committee had considered factors including the ideal time to start the season, the optimum number of matches per season, a conference structure and the possibility of playing more finals. 

The first two seasons of the AFLW competition included eight teams and featured seven home and away matches and a Grand Final, from February to March.

The addition of Geelong and North Melbourne for next year has complicated the fixturing process, with options including a reduced number of home and away games on the table.

The AFL considers the February-March window the ideal time for the competition, believing an earlier start would potentially hamper promotion and limit media exposure.

"An important part of that process was to talk to the AFLW Competition Committee and then following that, we will go back to the table to the same committee, and then we'll go to the (AFL) Commission," Livingstone said.

"That was always the timing process, in parallel [with] working with the broadcasters as to what a schedule might look like. It's important that we can be a bit inventive and flexible when it comes to our broadcast."

The next AFLW Competition Committee meeting is set for next month. 

The AFL is aiming to announce the AFLW fixture in late October, earlier than last year's November release.

The views in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of the AFL or its clubs