UPDATE:

A week’s worth of rain has forced Black Diamond AFL to cancel its pre-season women’s gala day.

The league announced the anticipated gala day, due to be held in Teralba on Saturday and Sunday, will not go ahead this year due to the wet conditions.

“Unfortunately we are not in a position to reschedule,” Operations manager Garry Burkinshaw said.

Tulkaba Park, where the gala day was set to be staged, has been inundated with water creating unfavourable playing conditions.

The regular season will begin on April 7. The home and away season will run for 18 weeks.

All teams will play 16 matches, as well as enjoy two bye weekends, before shortening to a top seven elimination series in the final three weeks.

Earlier, Thursday:

Any competition off-season feels long for loyalist fans, but when news came in the interim regarding four new expansion teams and a raft of internal changes, the Black Diamond Women’s AFL season opener seemed an eternity away.

The great news then – the long wait is over.

At least, the competition’s annual preseason gala day will end the lack of footy, and give players and fans alike a chance to see the newcomers, and league stalwarts, run out on March 24.

The gala is a “fantastic way to start the season”, Black Diamond operations manager Garry Burkinshaw said, and he believes new players are “welcomed” by the short-version format.

“We have a lot of new women coming into the game this season, and in recent years, and the gala is a great way for players that have a few nerves about getting on the field to give it a go,” Burkinshaw said.

The format for the annual gala day is simple – each team plays three short-form matches against other teams, with match fitness and game-day practice the main aim of the day.

Each match will be contested over a half hour period, with two ten minutes halves, and the day will run from 9.30am to mid-afternoon.

“There will be more than 300 women out there on the day, and they can all get out there and play without any pressure,” Burkinshaw added.

“The short-format gives them a rest, then they play again, and we think it’s very important because they get to play against multiple teams and get to know other players before the season starts.”

Burkinshaw also revealed those in the Black Diamond offices are eagerly awaiting the beginning of the women’s season in early April, as the national Women’s AFL draws to a close.

“We have seen an explosion of teams and players in recent years, when we had six teams in the competition just three years ago, and now we’re coming in with sixteen,” he said.

“A lot of the clubs that are in the league now were beginning to struggle, and women coming into the game in strong numbers has really saved a lot of those clubs. It’s fantastic, and we’re all so excited for this new, big season.”

The regular season will begin on April 7, and the home and away season will run for 18 weeks.

All teams will play 16 matches, as well as enjoy two bye weekends, before shortening to a top 7 elimination series in the final three weeks.