W-League (Australia)

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Wleague logo.png
Country Australia Australia
Confederation AFC (Asia)
Founded 25 October 2008; 6 years ago (25 October 2008)
First season 2008–09
Number of teams 9
Level on pyramid 1
Current champions Canberra United (2nd title)
Current premiers Perth Glory (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
2015–16 W-League

The W-League is a semi-professional women's soccer league, run by Football Federation Australia (FFA). At the top of the Australia league system, it is the country's primary competition for the sport. 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. Since 2012, successful W-League clubs have gained qualification into the international competition, the International Women's Club Championship. The current premier is Perth Glory, who finished first in 2014. The current champion is Canberra United, who won the 2014 W-League Grand Final.


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 the Canberra-based Canberra United.[3]

The W-League's inaugural season commenced on 25 October 2008, with Perth Glory hosting Sydney FC 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. Brisbane faced Canberra United 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]

Competition format[edit]

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".[7] 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.[8]


Team Location Stadium Period
Adelaide United Adelaide, South Australia Coopers Stadium 2008–09–present
Brisbane Roar Brisbane, Queensland Perry Park
Queensland Sport and Athletics Centre
A.J. Kelly Park
Canberra United Canberra, ACT McKellar Park 2008–09–present
Central Coast Mariners (defunct) Gosford Central Coast Stadium 2008–092009
Melbourne City Melbourne, Victoria CB Smith Reserve
Melbourne Victory Melbourne, Victoria Lakeside Stadium (10,000)
Kingston Heath Soccer Complex
Newcastle Jets Newcastle, New South Wales Wanderers Oval 2008–09–present
Perth Glory Perth, Western Australia Ashfield Reserve 2008–09–present
Sydney FC Sydney, New South Wales Allianz Stadium 2008–09–present
Western Sydney Wanderers Sydney, New South Wales Marconi Stadium 2012–13–present


Squad formation and salaries[edit]

A W-League squad has a minimum 20 players and a maximum of 26. 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 (players from outside Australia that hold a temporary working-visa) have played for teams in the W-League. Many players from countries such as Canada, England, Germany, Japan, New Zealand, the United States, and Wales have participated throughout the history of the league.

Since the inaugural W-League season, teams have officially receive a salary cap of A$150,000.[9] However, the semi-professional nature of the competition means that player salaries are vastly different, with The Sydney Morning Herald reporting in 2012 that whilst players earn $10,000 in one team, in others they earn nothing.[10] The lack of finance is particularly evident in clubs owned by their state football associations - Adelaide United and Newcastle Jets. In 2014, it was revealed that Sydney FC players were paid from $1,000 to $6,000, with one marquee player earning $70,000 funded by sponsorship.[11] By comparison, the salary cap for teams in the corresponding men's competition, the A-League, was $1.5 million in its inaugural 2005–06 season and $2.55 million as of 2015.


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.[12] Ahead of the 2015–16 season, it was announced that pay-TV network Fox Sports would televise W-League matches.[13] 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.[14]


Map of Australia and New Zealand with an inset.svg
Canberra United FC.jpg
CentralCoastColours 2.png

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
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 [15] 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.


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

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


Most appearances
Rank Player Appearances
1 Australia Renee Rollason 83
2 Australia Ellie Brush 81
3 Australia Clare Polkinghorne 79
4 Australia Caitlin Cooper 78
Australia Brooke Spence
6 Australia Marianna Tabain 77
7 Australia Nicole Begg 76
Australia Elisa D'Ovidio
Australia Teresa Polias
10 Australia Tameka Butt 75
Australia Michelle Heyman
Top scorers
Rank Player Goals
1 Australia Michelle Heyman 50
2 Australia Kate Gill 42
3 Australia Tameka Butt 40
4 Australia Leena Khamis 32
5 Australia Lisa De Vanna 30
6 Australia Samantha Kerr 29
Australia Kyah Simon 29
8 Australia Emily Gielnik 24
9 Australia Tara Andrews 23
10 England Jodie Taylor 22

The league presents annual awards for outstanding achievements including:[16]

  1. Julie Dolan Medal
  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[edit]


  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 (Australia). 28 July 2008. Retrieved 28 July 2008. 
  5. ^ "Statement regarding Westfield W-League". Central Coast Mariners. 29 July 2010. Retrieved 29 July 2010. 
  6. ^ Hytner, Mike (13 May 2015). "Melbourne City FC to field a W-League side next season". The Guardian. 
  7. ^ "W-LEAGUE". Soccer Way. Retrieved 30 November 2013. 
  8. ^ "Westfield W-League fixtures and results". Football Federation Australia. Retrieved 30 November 2013. 
  9. ^ "Fairer wages for women to dominate CBA talks". theworldgame.sbs.com.au. Retrieved 14 July 2015. 
  10. ^ "W-League 2013: Melissa Barbieri has to sell possessions to play". smh.com.au. Retrieved 12 July 2015. 
  11. ^ "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. 
  12. ^ "ABC TV cut broadcast of 2015/16 Westfield W-League". w-league.com.au. Retrieved 12 July 2015. 
  13. ^ "W -League games to be played as A-League curtain-raiser and broadcast live on Fox Sports". couriermail.com.au. Retrieved 13 July 2015. 
  14. ^ "W-League returns to ABC TV in partnership with FFA and Fox Sports". ABC News. 15 September 2015. 
  15. ^ http://www.footballaustralia.com.au/news-display/Westfield-WLeague-201415-season-draw-released/91350
  16. ^ "Westfield W-League Awards". Football Federation Australia. Retrieved 30 November 2013. 

External links[edit]