Melbourne derby, double headers: Draw for expanded W-League revealed
Interest in the women's game has exploded since the Matildas' history-making exploits at the World Cup in Canada.
The 2015/16 season will now be played over 14 rounds.
The nine-team competition will cover a 54-match regular season which will include byes.
Highlights include 12 W-League/A-league double headers with Fox Sports to broadcast.
And for the first time, the competition will include a Melbourne derby.
— Victory W-League (@victorywleague) September 8, 2015
FFA hailed the expanded competition, heading into its eighth season, as a positive sign for the future of the women's game.
“Following the success of the Westfield Matildas at the recent FIFA Women’s World Cup the interest in women’s football in Australia is at an all-time high,” W-League boss Damien De Bohun said.
“Today’s release of the Westfield W-League 2015/16 Season Draw gives football fans around Australia the opportunity to lock in plans to watch our best female footballers in action.
“This edition will also be historic with the expansion of the competition to nine clubs as we welcome Melbourne City FC to the Westfield W-League ranks for the first time, another sign of the growth in women’s football.
“The expansion of the Westfield W-League also means that we will provide a record number of opportunities for our elite female footballers to compete against each other at domestic level which will eventually have benefits at the international level.
“These developments in relation to the Westfield W-League are consistent with our strategy in regards to the Whole of Football Plan and where we see the future of Women’s Football in Australia.
“I am confident that this draw will provide another exciting edition of the Westfield W-League and like many other fans can’t wait for the season to start."
The season kicks off on Saturday October 17 when Adelaide United host Western Sydney Wanderers at Adelaide Shores Football Centre.
Melbourne Victory then take on last season’s Premiers, Perth Glory, at Broadmeadows Valley Park later that evening.
Brisbane Roar and Canberra United will meet at Suncorp Stadium on Sunday October 18.
— Tiernan Walker (@cheatruler) September 8, 2015
Melbourne City will play their first ever competitive match against Sydney FC at Lambert Park to complete the opening round.
There will be two Melbourne Derby’s (Melbourne City FC v Melbourne Victory) which will occur in Rounds 2 (Sunday, October 25) and 8 (Sunday, December 6) with two Sydney derby’s (Sydney FC v Western Sydney Wanderers FC) scheduled for Rounds 3 (Sunday, November 1) and 8 (Sunday, December 6).
YOU BEAUTY! City's W-League team against Victory will be a curtain raiser to Melbourne City's Rd 3 game against the Mariners on Oct 25!
— Ayden Cutajar (@AydenCutajar) September 8, 2015
The Grand Final re-match between Perth Glory and Canberra United will be held in Round 12 (Saturday, January 2, 2016).
The top four teams will once again advance to the Westfield W-League 2016 Finals Series, which will be played over two weekends (January 23/24 and 31, 2016).
The Westfield W-League 2016 Grand Final will be played on Sunday, January 31, 2016.
Westfield W-League 2015/16 Snapshot:
- Westfield W-League 2015/16 Season to kick off on Saturday 17 October when Adelaide United host the Western Sydney Wanderers FC at Adelaide Shores Football Centre
- Westfield W-League season will commence one week after the start of the Hyundai A-League 2015/16 Season
- 57 matches in total = 54 regular season matches + 2 Semi-Finals + Westfield W-League Grand Final
- Two (2) new venues to be used: C.B Smith Reserve (Melbourne City FC) and Popondetta Park (Western Sydney Wanderers FC)
- Melbourne Derby between Melbourne City FC and Melbourne Victory in Round 2 (on Sunday 25 October) and Round 8 (Sunday 6 December)
- Sydney Derby between Western Sydney Wanderers and Sydney FC in Rounds 3 & 8
- Grand Final rematch between Perth Glory and Canberra United in Round 12
- There are twelve (12) confirmed Westfield W-League/Hyundai A-League double headers scheduled on Sunday afternoons
- Westfield W-League 2016 Finals Series will see the first placed team host the fourth placed team, and the second placed team host the third placed team. The winner of the each Westfield W-League 2016 Semi-Final will advance to the Westfield W-League 2016 Grand Final which will be hosted by the higher ranked of the two teams.