W-League (Australia)

The W-League is the top-division women's soccer league in Australia, run by Football Federation Australia (FFA). The W-League was established in 2008 and was composed of eight teams of which seven had an affiliation with an A-League club, and the other was a new entity based in Canberra. The league is currently contested by nine teams. The competition is known as the Westfield W-League through a sponsorship arrangement with the Westfield Group.

Seasons typically run from November to February and include a 12-round regular season and an end-of-season finals series playoff tournament involving the highest-placed teams, culminating in a Grand Final match. The winner of the regular season tournament is dubbed 'Premier' and the winner of the grand final is 'Champion'. Since the league's inaugural season, a total of five clubs have been crowned W-League Premiers and five clubs have been crowned W-League Champions.

From 2012 to 2014, the W-League champion team qualified into an international competition, the International Women's Club Championship.

Melbourne Victory are the current Premiers, while Sydney FC are the current Champion, having won a record-equalling three Grand Finals.

Map of Australia and New Zealand with an inset
W-League logo
Founded25 October 2008
First season2008–09
CountryAustralia Australia
ConfederationAFC (Asia)
Number of teams9
Level on pyramid1
Current championsSydney FC (3rd title)
Current premiersMelbourne Victory (1st title)
Most championshipsMelbourne City (3 titles)
Sydney FC (3 titles)
Most premiershipsBrisbane Roar
Canberra United (3 titles)
TV partnersFox Sports; SBS
2018–19 W-League


Between 1996–2004 the Women's National Soccer League (WNSL) was Australia's top women's association football league. In 2004 it was discontinued alongside the men's National Soccer League.

After Australia qualified for the quarter-finals of the 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup, head coach Tom Sermanni felt the establishment of a professional league was vital for continuing the development of players.[1] Football Federation Australia established the league the following year.[2] The W-League was initially composed of eight teams: Adelaide United, Brisbane Roar, Central Coast Mariners, Melbourne Victory, Newcastle Jets, Perth Glory, and Sydney FC. Seven of the eight teams were affiliated with A-League clubs, and shared their names and colours to promote their brands. The eighth club was Canberra United.[3]

The W-League's inaugural season commenced on 25 October 2008, with Perth hosting Sydney at Members Equity Stadium.[4] After ten rounds, the regular season finished with Queensland Roar as the top-placed team, becoming the first W-League premiers, and advancing to the semi-finals along with the second-, third- and fourth-placed teams. Queensland faced Canberra in the 2009 W-League Grand Final, defeating them 2–0 to take the champions trophy.

Central Coast Mariners were forced to withdraw from the 2010–11 season due to a lack of funding and have yet to return.[5]

When Western Sydney Wanderers joined the A-League for the 2012–13 season, they also entered a team into the W-League, returning the competition to eight teams.

On 13 May 2015, Melbourne City were confirmed to compete in the W-League from the 2015–16 season.[6] The club had a remarkable inaugural season, winning all 12 of its regular season games and winning the Grand Final.[7]

Competition format

The W-League regular season typically runs from November to February and consists of 12 games per team, with the highest ranked team winning the title of "Premier".[8] The top four teams in the regular season then advance to the single-game knockout semifinals, with the Champion determined by the victor of the Grand Final.[9]


Squad formation and salaries

A W-League squad is required to have a minimum of 20 and a maximum of 26 players. Players typically receive a one-season contract, with many playing in leagues in other countries during the W-League's off-season. Due to the W-League's season running during the off-season of several leagues around the world, many foreign players have played for teams in the W-League and vice versa.

In 2015, teams in the W-League had a salary cap of A$150,000.[10] Individual player salaries vary, with one player reporting to The Sydney Morning Herald in 2012 that whilst some players earn $10,000, others earn nothing.[11] In 2014, it was reported that Sydney FC players were paid salaries ranging from $1,000 to $6,000.[12] Players can also earn money playing overseas and may therefore be considered by Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) as professional.[13]

Some clubs are owned by their state football associations including Adelaide United and Newcastle Jets.

For the 2017–18 season a minimum salary was introduced at A$10,000. The average salary therefore rose from A$15,500 to A$17,400. A salary cap was set at A$300,000.[14]


The 2018-19 season marked the first time that fans would be able to watch every W-League game. All matches will be broadcast or streamed on Fox Sports, SBS Viceland and the My Football Live app. Thursday Night Football was also introduced, meaning 13 stand-alone regular season matches will be played in prime-time and broadcast live on Fox Sports.[15] The Football Federation Australia (FFA) reached a deal with ESPN+ for broadcast rights to W-League games in the United States. ESPN+ will carry at least 17 W-League matches in the 2018-19 season.[16] For the first time ever W-League games would be broadcast on Youtube and Twitter in territories without a traditional broadcast partner.[17]


The W-League features Women Referees and Assistant Referees from Australia. Current referees include:


W-League Major Trophy Winners
Season Premiers (regular season winners) Champions (Grand Final winners)
2008–09 Queensland Roar Queensland Roar
2009 Sydney FC Sydney FC
2010–11 Sydney FC Brisbane Roar
2011–12 Canberra United Canberra United
2012–13 Brisbane Roar Sydney FC
2013–14 Canberra United Melbourne Victory
2014 Perth Glory Canberra United
2015–16 Melbourne City Melbourne City
2016–17 Canberra United Melbourne City
2017–18 Brisbane Roar Melbourne City
2018–19 Melbourne Victory Sydney FC

Queensland Roar changed their name to Brisbane Roar for the 2009 season.


Most Appearances

As of 16 February 2019 (end of 2018-19 post-season).[19] Players listed in bold are still active.

Rank Player Appearances
1 Australia Teresa Polias 130
2 Australia Clare Polkinghorne 128
3 Australia Tameka Butt 118
4 Australia Laura Alleway 117
5 Australia Marianna Tabain 116
6 Australia Caitlin Cooper 115
Australia Michelle Heyman
Australia Gema Simon
9 Australia Ellie Brush 113
Australia Stephanie Catley

Top Scorers

As of 16 February 2019 (end of 2018-19 post-season).[20] Players listed in bold are still active.

Rank Player Goals
1 Australia Samantha Kerr 70
2 Australia Michelle Heyman 63
3 Australia Tameka Butt 52
4 Australia Kyah Simon 44
5 Australia Kate Gill 42
6 Australia Ashleigh Sykes 41
7 Australia Leena Khamis 40
8 Australia Lisa De Vanna 39
9 Australia Emily Gielnik 33
10 Australia Caitlin Foord 32

See also


  1. ^ Grainey, Tim (26 November 2013). "Grainey: A closer look at the Westfield W-League". Equalizer Soccer. Retrieved 14 December 2013.
  2. ^ "Women in a league of their own". Football Federation Australia. 28 July 2008.
  3. ^ "W-League to debut in October". Fox Sports. 28 July 2008. Archived from the original on 6 August 2008. Retrieved 28 July 2008.
  4. ^ "Girls shop to the top". FourFourTwo. 28 July 2008. Retrieved 28 July 2008.
  5. ^ "Statement regarding Westfield W-League". Central Coast Mariners. 29 July 2010. Archived from the original on 28 February 2011. Retrieved 29 July 2010.
  6. ^ Hytner, Mike (13 May 2015). "Melbourne City FC to field a W-League side next season". The Guardian.
  7. ^ "Melbourne City crown perfect season with W-League grand final win over Sydney FC". The Age. 31 January 2016.
  8. ^ "W-LEAGUE". Soccer Way. Retrieved 30 November 2013.
  9. ^ "Westfield W-League fixtures and results". Football Federation Australia. Archived from the original on 14 December 2013. Retrieved 30 November 2013.
  10. ^ "Fairer wages for women to dominate CBA talks". theworldgame.sbs.com.au. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
  11. ^ "W-League 2013: Melissa Barbieri has to sell possessions to play". smh.com.au. Retrieved 12 July 2015.
  12. ^ "You can't accuse Sydney FC's W-League team of doing it for anything other than the glory". dailytelegraph.com.au. Retrieved 12 July 2015.
  13. ^ Scanlon, Jill (20 October 2015). "The W-League Will Be Looking To Follow The Matildas Pay Deal Path". Huffington Post. Retrieved 9 November 2015. While this is not a full-time professional workload wage, the women can also earn money playing overseas and are therefore considered by the PFA to be categorised as professional.
  14. ^ "W-League players to get huge pay increase for new season". espnfc.com. 11 September 2017. Retrieved 12 September 2017.
  15. ^ "Fans able to watch every match of the Westfield W-League 2018/19 Season". 5 September 2018. Retrieved 28 September 2018.
  16. ^ "ESPN+ Acquires Broadcast Rights to Westfield W-League in the United States". 10 August 2018. Retrieved 28 September 2018.
  17. ^ "Fans in more corners of the globe set to watch Australian football this season". 18 October 2018. Retrieved 18 October 2018.
  18. ^ "Kate Jacewicz to referee the Westfield W-League 2019 Grand Final". Football Federation Australia. 13 February 2019. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
  19. ^ "Australia W-League Women All-time appearances 1-50". www.worldfootball.net. Retrieved 17 February 2019.
  20. ^ "Australia W-League Women All-time Topscorers Rank 1-50". www.worldfootball.net. Retrieved 17 February 2019.

External links

2009 W-League (Australia)

The 2009 W-League season was the second season of the W-League, the Australian national women's football (soccer) competition. The season was played over 10 rounds followed by a finals series. Sydney FC were both the champions and premiers after finishing the regular season at the top of the table and defeating Brisbane Roar 3–2 in the grand final.

2009 W-League Grand Final (December)

The 2009 W-League Grand Final was the grand final of the second season of the Australian W-League football (soccer) competition. It was contested between premiers Sydney FC and third-placed Brisbane Roar at Toyota Stadium in Sydney on Saturday, 19 December 2009. Sydney FC became the second W-League champions after defeating the Brisbane Roar 3–2.

2009 W-League Grand Final (January)

The 2008–09 W-League Grand Final was the grand final of the inaugural season of the W-League, the premier league of football (soccer) in Australia.

Top of the table in the regular season Queensland Roar hosted home-and-away third-placed Canberra United FC at Ballymore Stadium in Herston, Brisbane in the Saturday 17 January 2009 season decider. In a closely contested match, the Roar defeated United 2–0. Both the Roar's goals were scored in the first half of the match.

2010–11 W-League

The 2010–11 W-League season was the third season of the W-League, the Australian national women's football (soccer) competition. The season consisted of twelve rounds, with each team playing a total of ten games, followed by a finals series.

Sydney FC were crowned premiers after winning the regular season, but lost the Grand Final to season runners-up Brisbane Roar.

2014 W-League (Australia)

The 2014 W-League season was the seventh season of the W-League, the Australian national women's association football competition. The regular season started on 13 September 2014 and concluded on 7 December 2014. The Grand Final took place on 21 December 2014.

Due to Australia hosting the 2015 AFC Asian Cup, the season was scheduled to take place entirely in the 2014 calendar year instead of continuing in to 2015.

2014 W-League Grand Final (December)

The 2014 W-League Grand Final took place at nib Stadium in Perth, Australia on 21 December 2014.

2016 W-League Grand Final

The 2016 W-League Grand Final was the final match of the 2015–16 W-League season and decided the champions of women's football in Australia for the season.

The match took place at AAMI Park in Melbourne, Australia on 31 January 2016 and was played between league premiers Melbourne City and two-time premiers of the league Sydney FC. The match was won by Melbourne City 4–1 who competed the perfect season, failing to lose a match all season. It was also Melbourne City's first championship of any kind in Australian football and ensured the club won all available silverware in women's football in their inaugural season. Kim Little, playing for Melbourne City for the season on loan from Seattle Reign FC, was named the player of the match.

2019 W-League Grand Final

The 2019 W-League Grand Final was the final match of the 2018–19 W-League season to decide the champions of women's soccer in Australia for the season.

The match was played between Sydney FC and Perth Glory, at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium, with Sydney FC emerging victorious 4–2.This was referee Kate Jacewicz's ninth final out of the first eleven seasons of the W-League. The attendance of 6,127 was a record for W-League grand finals.

Ballymore Stadium

Ballymore is a rugby union stadium situated in Herston, a suburb of Brisbane, Australia. It is the headquarters of Queensland Rugby Union and the home ground of the Brisbane City team in the National Rugby Championship. It is also used as a training facility for the Queensland Reds and Australian Wallabies rugby teams.

The stadium was the home ground of the Reds until they moved to Suncorp Stadium in 2006. The Brisbane Strikers football club also played at the ground prior to 2003. Ballymore was used as a training facility and headquarters for A-League club Brisbane Roar from 2008 to 2014.

Brisbane Roar FC (W-League)

The Brisbane Roar FC, also known as the Brisbane Roar Women and previously Queensland Roar, is a soccer team based in Brisbane, Queensland. Founded in 2008, it is the women's team of Brisbane Roar. The Roar competes in the country's premier women's soccer competition, the W-League, under licence from Football Federation Australia.

Lakeside Stadium

Lakeside Stadium is a sports arena in Albert Park, Melbourne, Australia. Comprising an athletics track and soccer stadium, it currently serves as the home ground and administrative base for the South Melbourne FC, Athletics Victoria, Athletics Australia, Victorian Institute of Sport and Australian Little Athletics.

The venue was built on the site of the former Australian rules football and cricket ground, Lake Oval (or South Melbourne Cricket Ground). It served for more than a century as the home ground of the South Melbourne Football Club and the South Melbourne Cricket Club, although it was also used for soccer from at least 1883.It is one of four sporting facilities in Melbourne - the others being the Melbourne Sports and Aquatic Centre (MSAC), the MSAC Institute of Training (MIT) and the State Netball and Hockey Centre (SNHC) - to be organised under the banner of Melbourne Sports Hub.

List of W-League (Australia) Grand Finals

The W-League is an association football competition organised by Football Federation Australia. It is the highest level of women's club football in Australia. The competition is held between nine teams from across Australia. The competition takes the form of a number of "regular season" matches between all teams, after which the top four contest semi-finals in order to qualify for the Grand Final, to play for the title of W-League Champions at the home ground of the higher-ranked team over the regular season. The first W-League Grand Final was won by Queensland Roar, who beat Canberra United 2–0.

Brisbane Roar, Canberra United, Sydney FC and Melbourne City have all won a record two Championships. Brisbane Roar have been runners-up more than any other team, having lost in the Grand Final three times. Melbourne City are the current Champions, having beaten Sydney 0–2 in the 2018 Grand Final.

List of W-League (Australia) hat-tricks

Since the W-League's inaugural season, 2008–09, more than thirty players have scored hat-tricks in W-League matches, by scoring three goals in one game. In addition, three players have scored more than three goals in a W-League match. The first hat-trick was scored by Sandra Scalzi for Adelaide United in a win over Newcastle Jets.

List of foreign W-League (Australia) players

This is a list of foreign players in the Australian W-League, which commenced play in 2008. The following players must meet both of the following two criteria:

Have played at least one W-League game (including finals). Players who were signed by W-League clubs, but did not play in any competitive games, are not included.

Are considered foreign, i.e., outside Australia determined by the following:A player is considered foreign if she is not eligible to play for the national team of Australia.More specifically,

If a player has been capped on international level, the national team is used; if she has been capped by more than one country, the highest level (or the most recent) team is used. These include Australia/New Zealand players with dual citizenship.

If a player has not been capped on international level, her country of birth is used, except those who were born abroad from Australian parents or moved to Australia at a young age, and those who clearly indicated to have switched her nationality to another nation.Clubs listed are those for which the player has played at least one A-League game—and seasons are those in which the player has played at least one W-League game.

As of December 2018, 30 different nations have been represented in the W-League. Ghana is the most recent nation to be represented with Elizabeth Addo debuting for Western Sydney Wanderers on 2 December 2018.

In bold: players who are currently active with a W-League club.

Newcastle Jets FC (W-League)

The Newcastle Jets FC, also known as the Newcastle Jets Women, is an Australian football (soccer) team. Founded in 2008, it is the affiliated women's team of Newcastle Jets. The team competes in the country's National Women's Football competition, the W-League, under licence from Football Federation Australia.

Penrith Stadium

Penrith Stadium (known commercially as Panthers Stadium) is a rugby league and association football stadium located in Penrith, New South Wales, Australia.

The 22,500 capacity venue is the home ground for the Penrith Panthers who play in the National Rugby League (NRL). The all-time attendance record for the venue is 22,582 in a match between the Panthers and their Western Sydney rivals Parramatta on 17 July 2010.

Perth Glory FC (W-League)

The Perth Glory FC, also known as the Perth Glory Women, represents the Perth Glory in the W-League, the top division women's football (soccer) league in Australia. The team was established in 2008, with the founding of the new league. They use both HBF Park and Dorrien Gardens as their main home grounds since the 2017–18 Season.

Sydney FC (W-League)

Sydney FC, also known as Sydney FC W-League is a soccer club based in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. It competes in the country's premier women's soccer competition, the W-League and has a direct affiliation with the men's A-League team Sydney FC.

Western Sydney Wanderers FC (W-League)

Western Sydney Wanderers F.C. is an Australian women's soccer club based in the western region of Sydney, New South Wales. Founded in 2012, it is the affiliated women's team of the A-League team Western Sydney Wanderers. The team currently competes in the country's top-tier women's domestic competition, the W-League.

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