The AFL Hunter Central Coast women’s premier competitions are set to move to a two-tier league format from 2020 as the region’s structures expand, the governing body announced late on Friday evening.
A new ten-team Black Diamond Cup Women’s competition will become the new top-flight league in the region, and will include former championship clubs like current title holders Newcastle City, Nelson Bay, and defending premiers Killarney Vale.
The new-look competition will be rounded out by Terrigal Avoca, Cardiff, Warners Bay, Wallsend-West Newcastle, Maitland, Lake Macquarie, and Wyong Lakes.
The remaining five clubs—Port Stephens, Muswellbrook, The Entrance Bateau Bay, Singleton, and Gosford—will contest the new AFLHCC Black Diamond Plate women’s competition alongside a second Newcastle City team.
These major changes, and the split of the women’s competition, will also bring a number of tweaks to the format in 2020 as well, including the transition into an 18-round competition with no byes, and a continued break for the rep weekend.
Teams in the Black Diamond Cup Women’s competition will contest a double-round robin competition where each club plays each other twice, home and away. The league will then break into a top-five finals series from Saturday, August 29.
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“After reviewing club team nominations, the AFLHCC board has now formalised the competition structure and season dates for 2020,” competition organisers announced in a formal press release on February 21.
“The approved structure is a five-tier competition [men and women] that delivers a high level of alignment, competitive balance and a sustainable future in which the league can support the development of all clubs and players.”
This move has been in the works for some time during the offseason, and has finally come to fruition after the clubs penned the new agreement this week.
AFLHCC, who took over governance of the region’s competitions from Black Diamond AFL at the beginning of the year, tabled a number of proposals to 15 senior clubs in October. These clubs boast 39 teams between them.
The AFLHCC’s proposal detailed plans to split the women’s league, which currently hosts 15 top-level squads, into two grades similar to the men’s Black Diamond Cup and Black Diamond Plate systems.
AFLHCC community football manager Sam Zikman confirmed all 15 clubs had voted in the implementation of new grades in the women’s comp, with the vote on the structures held during the AFLHCC’s postseason review.
The new-look Black Diamond Cup Women’s competition is set to begin on Saturday, April 4. Head-to-head fixtures are expected to be released in the coming days.