The AFLW 2018 season kicks off this weekend -- here's how to watch it live and for free

The 2017 AFL Women’s Competition kicks off tonight. Carlton and Collingwood will go head to head in the first match at Ikon Park. Photo: Scott Barbour/ Getty Images.

The inaugural AFLW season was a huge success for the AFL and women’s sport in Australia last year. This weekend, the 2018 season kicks off and looks to continue the positive momentum generated in 2017. Unlike the AFL, AFLW doesn’t quite have enough traction to command primetime slots on Channel 7 all year round, so if you’re looking to watch all of the games, you’ll have to look elsewhere. We’ve got you covered though – here’s how to watch the AFLW 2018 season live, online and free!

What Is AFLW?

AFLW is the Australian Football League for Women, which launched in 2017. The season begins early in the year, with 29 matches played between eight clubs: Adelaide, Brisbane, Carlton, Collingwood, Fremantle, Greater Western Sydney, Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs. At the conclusion of the regular season, the top two teams play off in the Grand Final.

The 2017 season was won by the mighty Adelaide Crows.

When Is AFLW?

Over the seven weeks of the regular season, there are four matches per weekend, usually being broken across the weekend with Friday night, Saturday day, Saturday night and Sunday matches. The season kicks off on Friday, February 2 and is completed on Saturday, March 24, when the best two teams face off in the Grand Final.

Round one of the 2018 season kicks off with a Carlton vs Collingwood matchup at Ikon Park on February 2 and will begin at 7:45pm AEDT.

Here’s that time in all capital cities:

  • Perth, WA: 4:45pm
  • Darwin, NT: 6:15pm
  • Brisbane, QLD: 6:45pm
  • Adelaide, SA: 7:15pm
  • Sydney, NSW: 7:45pm
  • Canberra, ACT: 7:45pm
  • Melbourne, VIC: 7:45pm
  • Hobart, TAS: 7:45pm

The remaining Round One games will take place on Saturday and Sunday.

For the full schedule of the entire season, head to the AFLW website.

How To Watch AFLW Live In Australia

The free-to-air rights belong to Channel 7 who haven’t exactly made AFLW a high priority on their schedule. If you’re trying to catch AFLW games on free to air, you’re best bet is to check 7Mate if you’re outside of South Australia or Victoria. Channel 7 is covering some games, but the haphazard scheduling will likely catch a few people out. The first game of the season will air live on Channel 7 in Adelaide and Melbourne, but 7Mate in Sydney, Brisbane and Perth. Other states will miss out.

You can use the schedule linked above to see where the games are set to be broadcast.

Fortunately, the easiest way to watch, without all the fussing about with a TV, is with the AFLW app. The app has live access to every single AFLW game, including the Grand Final, plus news, reports and updates. You can find the app on the Play Store and on the App Store here. Telstra customers will be able to stream all the games without paying any fees for data, too!

All games are free to attend, with the exception of the Fremantle vs Collingwood match at Perth’s new Optus Stadium. Entry to this game will set you back $2, which is still an excellent price to both see an AFLW match and check out Australia’s newest stadium.

Carn the Crowies!

This article was originally published by Lifehacker Australia. Read the original post here.

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