Isadora McLeay and Imogen Evans are AFLW players currently taking part in an internship at Disney and ESPN, where they are given the opportunity to gain real-life work experience while having the flexibility to pursue their footballing goals and aspirations.
This week, the girls look at the AFLW's fixture, especially the lack of creativity involved when trying to avoid clashes with the men's finals.
Imogen Evans, Collingwood
Who's getting to a Friday night 5pm first bounce on time? Not me, unless I'm playing.
It's difficult to understand why the AFL has fixtured the AFLW games this way, especially as they have so much 'intent' to grow the game. It seems very counterproductive.
It's important to recognise that the AFL Finals series is underway during this period too, and I wouldn't want the two to clash. However, there must be a better way.
For example, Round 3 of the AFLW begins on Friday with a 5:05pm clash between Geelong and North. With the AFL semifinal between Melbourne and Carlton being played at 7:50pm the same evening.
Firstly, why can't this AFLW match be played on the Thursday night? It can be broadcasted at more efficient time slot and will be the standalone game of footy available for fans on that night.
It can then be assumed that this game would have a far greater audience than if it were played on the Friday, which would support the AFL's very public stance on wanting to increase the reach of the women's game.
Look at the AFLW scheduling for AFL Grand Final week, with the first game being played at 6:15pm Thursday (which is an improvement, but why not push it back to 7pm at least?), then 4 games on the Friday public holiday, at 1:05pm, 4:05pm, 7:15pm, and then at 9.15pm AEST.
There is also one match scheduled on Grand Final day at 11:05am - Collingwood vs. Essednon at the AIA center, which is directly opposite to the MCG. And it would turn out to be perfect if the Collingwood men's team make the big dance, because a solid crowd could be expected.
On Sunday there are three games, at 1:05pm, 3:05pm and 5:05pm.
Every Friday night clash following the completion of the AFL season is at a far more acceptable time slot, ranging from 7:15pm to 7:45pm.
Footy is everywhere during the AFL Finals series, and everyone's engaged. So why not capitalise on this piqued interest and strategically promote the women's game? Make more footy available to watch, and therefore increase the overall exposure of AFLW.
Isadora McLeay, GWS
On Friday, the AFLW will have a huge game between two very possible contenders for the flag in North Melbourne and Geelong, in what could prove to be one of the biggest clashes of the home-and-away season.
A blockbuster down at GHMBA Stadium, both teams would relish a high attendance figure, however, with the game being 5:05 p.m. during peak hour it will be hard for that to be achieved.
People and families trying to wrangle their lives together, leaving work early, picking up kids from school in the early afternoon to get to this game is a scheduling blunder. I understand there is a big AFL finals game on that night, but in Round 1 of AFLW the opening round started on a Thursday night - why can't this happen again, seeing that there are no games currently scheduled for Thursday in either competition?
As AFL gets into its festive season with finals, AFLW can really capitalise on fan interest and those wanting a greater football fix. With the number of men's games each weekend starting to drop, surely these women's games can fit into a better time slot.
The following weekend the GWS Giants and Adelaide Crows will face off at 11am in Canberra. Is this local football? Instead of trying to squeeze an AFLW game at breakfast before the AFL Grand Final, could this not be looked to be moved on Thursday, or a double header on a Friday night? AFLW games being shorter should benefit this sort of fixturing.
We need to grow the game of AFLW, and the little blunders like this set the competition up for failure.