Draw released for expanded National Women's League

Auckland Football celebrate winning the 2017 National Women's League (Photosport)

The path to glory for all teams in the historic upcoming season of the National Women’s League has been revealed after the unveiling of the official draw.

The competition has existed in some format since 2002 with the country’s top female players battling it out for national supremacy. That will be the case again this year but the champions will be even more worthy, having played more games on their road to the title than ever before.

Each previous National Women’s League season has consisted of a round-robin format with the sides playing each other only once, while post-season play-offs were introduced in 2004.

That meant form had to be found quickly as a slow start could soon put sides out of the running. They will have longer to keep their hopes alive from now on though with the competition expanding to two full rounds, pitching the sides against each other both home and away.

The revamped National Women’s League is set to get going on September 15 and the two highest-placed sides will progress to a one-off grand final on the weekend of December 15-16, the winner of which will lift the trophy.

Another key feature of the draw is a double header of rounds to take place over Labour weekend, in which all sides except Capital – who will sit the action out with the bye – are set to play two matches.

Due to venue unavailability in the region, WaiBOP will play two of their home matches outside the federation. As a result, there will be a double header at McLennan Park in Auckland on October 7 with WaiBOP meeting Southern United before Auckland take on Capital while fans in Palmerston North will be treated to two matches over Labour weekend as WaiBOP and Central swap hosting duties at Massey University.

“In around 30 days from now, we will launch a new era for our National Women’s League. It’s fantastic to be in a position to announce the match schedule for an extended National Women’s League and we’re looking forward to the best and most exciting competition of recent times” says Daniel Farrow, Competitions and Events Director for New Zealand Football.

“This is a big step for female football. The schedule has had a few challenges and I would like to thank all seven participating federations, respective venues and all other stakeholders who have worked collectively to develop the schedule.”

The official draw for the 2018 National Women’s League is available by clicking here

Fixtures are subject to change, please visit www.nzfootball.co.nz after August 31 for finalised fixtures.

Article added: Friday 17 August 2018

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