HOLDERS: Hervey Bay Bombers captain Amy Clapp and coach Shaun King celebrate winning the title this year. The club will have to play more games next season to retain it.
HOLDERS: Hervey Bay Bombers captain Amy Clapp and coach Shaun King celebrate winning the title this year. The club will have to play more games next season to retain it. Matthew McInerney

Women's competition gets bigger

AUSSIE RULES: There will be more AFL Wide Bay games for women next season.

The NewsMail can reveal the competition has been expanded for next year after the success of the inaugural season this year which was won by Hervey Bay.

It was confirmed after two meetings of the AFL Wide Bay in Childers yesterday.

The competition will now have teams play eight games in the regular season before the finals.

The AFL Wide Bay women's competition remains at six teams, one more than the men's, with Gympie staying for next year's edition, which will officially start on February2.

AFL Wide Bay president Anthony Stothard said every side would play each other once before AFL rules determined how the final three matches were organised.

He added it was likely, but not confirmed, that the top three would face each other, and likewise the bottom three from the first season would face each other first.

So Hervey Bay, The Waves and Gympie would face each other, with Bay Power, Maryborough and Brothers Bulldogs to contest each other in their first two matches.

The final match would see a top-three side face a bottom three side from last year.

It's a similar system to the current AFL format, which sees the top six, middle six, and bottom six teams from the previous season face each other twice to make up the 22 matches the sides play with 18 teams.

The women's finals have also changed with the top three instead of the top two qualifying.

The minor premiers will qualify for the grand final automatically with second and third to face each other in a preliminary final.

The preliminary final is going to be held on March30 before the decider is held a week later on April6.

Stothard said the decision was made to increase the competition after all clubs found success having women's teams.

More from the meeting available in the NewsMail tomorrow.