The AFL has announced the season dates for the 2023 rebel Victorian Football League Women’s (VFLW) season.
The 2023 rebel VFLW season will commence on the weekend of March 25-26, aligning with the opening round of the 2023 Smithy’s VFL season and Round 2 of the Toyota AFL Premiership Season.
The start date for the 2023 rebel VFLW season has moved to late March following the change to AFLW season dates since the completion of this year’s VFLW campaign. The 2022 rebel VFLW season commenced in February.
The 2023 rebel VFLW home and away season will consist of 14 rounds, with a competition bye scheduled for the King’s Birthday weekend.
The AFL can confirm 12 teams will compete in the 2023 rebel VFLW season.
As announced in October, Hawthorn has transferred its VFLW licence to the Box Hill Hawks. The two clubs will remain aligned, with the team to compete under the Box Hill Hawks banner.
The composition of clubs for the 2023 rebel VFLW season will be:
VFLW standalone clubs: Darebin Falcons, Williamstown
AFLW aligned clubs: Box Hill Hawks (Hawthorn), Casey Demons (Melbourne), Port Melbourne (Richmond), Southern Saints (St Kilda)
AFLW standalone clubs: Carlton, Collingwood, Essendon, Geelong Cats, North Melbourne, Western Bulldogs
The top-six teams on the ladder at the conclusion of the home and away season will qualify for the 2023 rebel VFLW Finals Series.
The finals format will remain unchanged from 2022, with the finals series to be played across four weeks, commencing the weekend of July 8-9.
The 2023 rebel VFLW Grand Final is scheduled to be played on Sunday, July 30.
AFL Head of State League Competitions Jennie Loughnan said it was pleasing to provide clubs, fans and stakeholders with an update ahead of the 2023 rebel VFLW campaign.
“We were absolutely thrilled to this year complete our first rebel VFLW season since 2019 and we are looking forward to the 2023 campaign with great anticipation,” Loughnan said.
“As the state’s premier women’s football league, the rebel VFLW has showcased the state’s best football talent over the past seven seasons. This is evidenced by the number of players who have gone on to play in the AFLW.
“We are pleased to have 12 clubs competing in the competition again in 2023, which will comprise a great mix of standalone and AFLW-aligned teams.
“With the start dates of the rebel VFLW and Smithy’s VFL seasons aligning, we are excited about the prospect of clubs aligning their programs and having the opportunity to play double-headers, which we see as being a great win for clubs and fans.”
As the state’s premier women’s football league, the VFLW competition has showcased Victoria’s best football talent since its inception in 2016.
A host of AFLW stars have progressed through the competition, including 17 players who were recruited from Hawthorn’s 2022 VFLW team for Season 7 of AFLW.
With the season dates confirmed, work will now commence on the 2023 rebel VFLW season fixture, which will be published as soon as finalised.