State of the AFLW Nation

The inaugural AFLW Pride Match was played on February 23 between Carlton and the Western Bulldogs.

More than halfway through this endless seven-round season, the 2018 AFL Women’s season has been catastrophe after catastrophe for the AFL.

First up, the Western Bulldogs are on top of the ladder. Everyone knows that any team with the moniker “Western” are supposed to be perpetual battlers — also-rans in a competition of Carltons and other-city equivalents of Carltons.

But here we are, in the upside down, topsy turvy world of the AFLW, where women play footy for peanuts (but not transwomen — more on this below), and have to play in summer, and there’s no proper lighting at Princess Park, and the players go back to their day jobs after playing, and they don’t have access to childcare even though there’s several parents…

Wait a second! This is not an alternative reality after all, merely a more pleasant corner of our lovely capitalist patriarchy.

And now it’s time to take stock of the latest in the AFLW 2018 edition.

Eddie McGuire

After threatening to take the jumpers, the ball and the broadcasting box home unless he got to sing the club song soon, the Magpie supremo finally got his wish when the Mag-women broke through for their first win of the season in Alice Springs in their February 24 round four match.

After facing down the much-more-fancied Melbourne Demons team, one imagines that the Pies were tempted to yell out the age-old insult against Dees fans: “RATTLE YOUR VOLVO KEYS”.

But as a fan of women’s footy, it’s hard to wish Melbourne captain/midwife/unionist/advocate for the “change the date” campaign/all around legend Daisy Pearce any ill. So instead, I enjoyed Collingwood’s Mo Hope’s goals. I also enjoyed Eddie not travelling to Alice Springs to watch his team play … and win.

Pride Match

The Carlton bosses responded to the marriage equality postal plebiscite with a master class in fence sitting. They issued a statement that failed to take a side in one of the simpler moral/political questions of our times — right up there with “Should you deliberately hurt animals?” and “Is it okay to be a scab?”

In fact, Carlton even managed to put “same-sex marriage” in quotation marks in their statement, as if extension of human rights is somehow a mythical or even comical proposition, like “Malcolm Turnbull” or “trickle-down economics”. How it must have felt to be one of Carlton’s many queer players during this debacle, one can only guess.

Still, they are quasi-geniuses down in Parkville because, despite issuing a “Peace in our time” style declaration, the Blues were rewarded with the inaugural AFLW Pride Game. There is a kind of justice to this, however, as the Blues were thumped by a record margin.

The sweetener here is that the Dogs’ Pride jumper had a big “YES” on the back, to go along with the club’s historical stance that queer folk are deserving of equal treatment.

AFLW - All women* are welcome

*Transwomen need not apply.

Hannah Mouncey and others are continuing to seek clarity on AFLW rules around eligibility for the draft this year. According to Girls Play Footy and other sources, a much more inclusive and fairer policy on transgender players is on its way. Hopefully this policy is better than the AFLX and its “Zooper goals” brain fart.

[You can read more of Jackie Lynch’s writings on the AFLW at The Footy Almanac.]

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