W-League (Australia)

Country Australia Australia
Confederation AFC (Asia)
Founded 25 October 2008 (25 October 2008)
First season 2008–09
Number of teams 9
Level on pyramid 1
Current champions Melbourne City (1st title)
Current premiers Melbourne City (1st title)
Most championships Brisbane Roar
Sydney FC
Canberra United (2 titles)
Most premierships Brisbane Roar
Sydney FC
Canberra United (2 titles)
TV partners ABC
Fox Sports
Website w-league.com.au
2016–17 W-League

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 clubs. The eighth team 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 four clubs have been crowned W-League Premiers and four 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 City are both the current premiers and champions, having gone through their inaugural season undefeated.


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, Queensland 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 rounds, with the highest ranked team winning the title of "Premiers".[8] The top four teams in the regular season then advance to the knockout finals 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 international leagues 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.

As of 2015, teams in the W-League have a salary cap of A$150,000.[10] Individual player salaries vary, with one player reporting to the 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, with one marquee player earning $70,000 funded by sponsorship.[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.


From the inaugural season, the national public television network, ABC, had broadcast one match a week each. In November 2014, ABC announced a decision to cease broadcast of the league at the end of the 2014 season as part of widespread budget cuts.[14] Ahead of the 2015–16 season, it was announced that pay-TV network Fox Sports would televise one W-League match a week.[15] The ABC also rejoined the broadcasting arrangement ahead of the 2015–16 season, being entitled to air one live match of the round in conjunction with Fox Sports.[16] In addition to FOX Sports and ABC airing one weekly game, both networks will air both semi-final games and the grand final live.[17] These arrangements are to continue for the 2016–17 season [18]


Primary venues currently used in the W-League:

Stadium Capacity Club
Burton Park 1,200 Adelaide United
The Shores 1,000 Adelaide United
Queensland Sport and Athletics Centre 49,000 Brisbane Roar
Perry Park 5,000 Brisbane Roar
A.J. Kelly Park 1,500 Brisbane Roar
McKellar Park 2,460 Canberra United
Deakin Stadium 1,500 Canberra United
CB Smith Reserve 2,000 Melbourne City
AAMI Park 30,050 Melbourne City
Kingston Heath 5,000 Melbourne Victory
Broadmeadows Valley Park 5,000 Melbourne Victory
Etihad Stadium 53,347 (rectangular configuration) Melbourne Victory
Lakeside Stadium 15,000 Melbourne Victory
Wanderers Oval 2,000 Newcastle Jets
Adamstown Oval 2,000 Newcastle Jets
Ashfield Reserve[19] 2,000 Perth Glory
nib Stadium 20,500 Perth Glory
Allianz Stadium 45,500 Sydney FC
WIN Stadium 18,484 Sydney FC
WIN Jubilee Oval 22,000 Sydney FC
Marconi Stadium 11,500 Western Sydney Wanderers
Campbelltown Stadium 21,000 Western Sydney Wanderers
Centrebet Stadium 22,500 Western Sydney Wanderers

Other venues previously used by W-League clubs include:

Stadium Capacity Details
Bluetongue Stadium 20,119 Central Coast Mariners
Canberra Stadium 25,011 Used by Central Coast Mariners in the 2009 season during round 5.1
Leichhardt Oval 22,000 Used by Sydney FC and Central Coast Mariners in the 2009 season during round 8 as a double-header.2|-
Wembley Park 2,500 Used by Melbourne Victory in the 2013–2014 season.

1Central Coast Mariners played this fixture as a home game against Canberra United. 2Sydney FC played this fixture as a home game against Perth Glory. It is also a 'curtain raiser' to the second game, to be played by the Mariners. Central Coast Mariners played this fixture as a home game against Melbourne Victory.


The W-League features Women Referees and Assistant Referees from Australia. 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

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


Most appearances
1 Australia Ellie Brush 94
2 Australia Marianna Tabain 91
3 Australia Teresa Polias 90
3 Australia Clare Polkinghorne 90
5 Australia Renee Rollason 89
6 Australia Nicole Begg 88
7 Australia Tameka Butt 86
7 Australia Gema Simon 86
9 Australia Michelle Heyman 85
10 Australia Shannon May 84
10 Australia Ashleigh Sykes 84
Top scorers
1 Australia Michelle Heyman 54
2 Australia Tameka Butt 43
3 Australia Kate Gill 42
4 Australia Leena Khamis 36
5 Australia Kyah Simon 35
6 Australia Lisa De Vanna 33
7 Australia Samantha Kerr 30
8 Australia Emily Gielnik 27
Australia Marianna Tabain
10 Australia Tara Andrews 26

The league presents annual awards for outstanding achievements including:[21]

  1. Julie Dolan Medal (for the Player of the Year)
  2. Young Player of the Year
  3. Player's Player of the Year
  4. Goalkeeper of the Year (Golden Glove)
  5. Golden Boot
  6. Goal of the Year
  7. Coach of the Year
  8. Referee of the Year
  9. Fair Play Award

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. 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. 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. "ABC TV cut broadcast of 2015/16 Westfield W-League". w-league.com.au. Retrieved 12 July 2015.
  15. "W -League games to be played as A-League curtain-raiser and broadcast live on Fox Sports". couriermail.com.au. Retrieved 13 July 2015.
  16. "W-League returns to ABC TV in partnership with FFA and Fox Sports". ABC News. 15 September 2015.
  17. "FOX SPORTS and ABC TV to broadcast Westfield W-League". Football Australia. 15 September 2015. Retrieved 8 October 2015.
  18. "TV viewers set for armchair ride". Football Australia. 4 November 2016. Retrieved 4 November 2016.
  19. http://www.footballaustralia.com.au/news-display/Westfield-WLeague-201415-season-draw-released/91350
  20. "Roar Land Inaugural W-League". http://au.fourfourtwo.com. Retrieved 17 January 2009. External link in |publisher= (help)
  21. "Westfield W-League Awards". Football Federation Australia. Retrieved 30 November 2013.
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