W-League (Australia)

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W-League logo.svg
Founded25 October 2008; 12 years ago (25 October 2008)
First season2008–09
CountryAustralia Australia
ConfederationAsian Football Confederation
Number of teams9
Level on pyramid1
International cup(s)AFC Women's Club Championship
Current championsMelbourne Victory (2nd title)
Current premiersSydney FC (3rd title)
Most championshipsMelbourne City (4 titles)
Most premiershipsBrisbane Roar
Canberra United
Sydney FC
(3 titles)
TV partnersABC (Australia)
Fox Sports (Australia)
Prime (New Zealand)
Sky Sport (New Zealand)
beIN Sports (New Zealand and Southeast Asia)
Australia TV (Pacific Islands)
Pasifika TV (Pacific Islands)
BT Sport (Ireland and UK)
YouTube (Non-Broadcast Regions)
Current: 2020–21 W-League

The W-League is the top-division women's soccer league in Australia. The W-League was established in 2008 by Football Federation Australia 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.

Melbourne Victory are the current Champions. Sydney FC are the current premiers.


Club locations map
Adelaide United
Brisbane Roar
Canberra United
Central Coast Mariners
Melbourne City
Melbourne Victory
Newcastle Jets
Perth Glory
Sydney FC
Western Sydney Wanderers

Between 1996 and 2004 the Women's National Soccer League (WNSL) was Australia's top women's soccer 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. From 2012 to 2014, the W-League champion team qualified into an international competition, the International Women's Club Championship.

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]

From the inception of the competition the league was run by Football Federation Australia, the governing body for the sport in Australia. In July 2019, the FFA relinquished operational control of the league to each of the clubs, represented by the Australian Professional Football Clubs Association.[8]

Competition format[edit]

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".[9] 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.[10]


Current clubs
TeamLocationStadiumCapacityFoundedJoinedHead coachCaptainHighest
Most recent
Adelaide UnitedAdelaide, South AustraliaWest Beach Parks Football Centre
Marden Sports Complex
20082008 Adrian Stenta{ Dylan Holmes5th5th
Brisbane RoarBrisbane, QueenslandMoreton Daily Stadium
Lions Stadium, Brisbane
Lang Park
20082008 Jake Goodship Clare Polkinghorne1st2nd
Canberra UnitedCanberra, Australian Capital TerritoryMcKellar Park
Deakin Stadium
20082008 Vicki Linton [[Kendall Fletcher]1st4th
Melbourne CityMelbourne, VictoriaFrank Holohan Soccer Complex[11]
Melbourne Rectangular Stadium
20152015 Rado VidošićAUS}} Emma Checker1st7th
Melbourne VictoryMelbourne, VictoriaLakeside Stadium
Kingston Heath Soccer Complex
John Ilhan Memorial Reserve
Docklands Stadium
20082008 Jeff Hopkins Angela Beard1st3rd
Newcastle JetsNewcastle, New South WalesWanderers Oval
Adamstown Oval
20082008 Ash Wilson Cassidy Davis
Gema Simon
Perth GloryPerth, Western AustraliaDorrien Gardens
Hay Park, Bunbury
Perth Oval

20082008 Alexander Epakis Natasha Rigby1st9th
Sydney FCSydney, New South WalesJubilee Stadium
Leichhardt Oval
Seymour Shaw Park
Cromer Park
20082008 Ante Juric Teresa Polias1st1st
Western Sydney WanderersSydney, New South WalesMarconi Stadium
Campbelltown Stadium
20122012 Dean Heffernan Caitlin Cooper3rd6th
Former clubs
TeamLocationStadiumCapacityFoundedJoinedDissolvedLast head coachLast captainHighest
Most recent
Central Coast MarinersGosford, New South WalesCentral Coast Stadium20,059200820082009 Stephen Roche Caitlin Cooper2nd2nd

Performance record[edit]

Performance and ranking of clubs based on their best regular season result in the W-League.

RankClubBest Result08–090910–1111–1212–1313–141415–1616–1717–1818–1919–2020–21
1Brisbane Roar1st (three times)1322146471252
2Canberra United1st (three times)3431513215864
3Sydney FC1st (three times)4113424332331
4Melbourne City1st (twice)144517
5Melbourne Victory1st5544332997123
6Perth Glory1st7656251826479
7Newcastle Jets2nd2865785653798
8Central Coast Mariners2nd62
9Western Sydney Wanderers3rd678788936
10Adelaide United5th (twice)8777867569695

Legend: Team names in italics indicates the club is no longer a current W-League member.


Squad formation and salaries[edit]

A W-League squad is required to have a minimum of 20 and a maximum of 26 players.[citation needed] Players typically receive a one-season contract,[citation needed] 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.[12] 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.[13] In 2014, it was reported that Sydney FC players were paid salaries ranging from $1,000 to $6,000.[14] Players can also earn money playing overseas and may therefore be considered by Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) as professional.[15]

Some clubs are owned by their state soccer associations including Adelaide United and Newcastle Jets.[citation needed]

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.[16]


The 2018–19 season marked the first time that fans were able to watch every W-League game. All matches were 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.[17] 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.[18] For the first time ever W-League games would be broadcast on YouTube and Twitter in territories without a traditional broadcast partner.[19] Since July 2019, Foxtel has broadcast all matches and ABC has broadcast one match per round live on its primary channel.[20]


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

  • Kate Jacewicz, who has refereed nine of the first eleven Finals.[21]
  • Katie Patterson


W-League winners
SeasonPremiers (regular season winners)Champions (Grand Final winners)
2008–09Queensland RoarQueensland Roar
2009Sydney FCSydney FC
2010–11Sydney FCBrisbane Roar
2011–12Canberra UnitedCanberra United
2012–13Brisbane RoarSydney FC
2013–14Canberra UnitedMelbourne Victory
2014Perth GloryCanberra United
2015–16Melbourne CityMelbourne City
2016–17Canberra UnitedMelbourne City
2017–18Brisbane RoarMelbourne City
2018–19Melbourne VictorySydney FC
2019–20Melbourne CityMelbourne City
2020–21Sydney FCMelbourne Victory

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


Most Appearances[edit]

As of 21 March 2020 (end of 2019–20 post-season).[22]Players listed in bold are still actively playing in the W-League.

1 Teresa Polias144
2 Clare Polkinghorne140
3 Tameka Yallop128
4 Ellie Brush127
Stephanie Catley
Gema Simon
7 Caitlin Cooper125
8 Laura Brock123
9 Shannon May120
Lydia Williams

Top scorers[edit]

As of 31 March 2021. Players listed in bold are still actively playing in the W-League.

1 Michelle Heyman72
2 Samantha Kerr70
3 Tameka Yallop55
4 Kyah Simon50
5 Kate Gill42
Leena Khamis
7 Ashleigh Sykes41
8 Lisa De Vanna39
9 Tara Andrews34
Caitlin Foord

See also[edit]

  • AFC Women's Club Championship
  • W-League records and statistics
  • Women's soccer in Australia
  • Australia women's national soccer team
  • Women's National Soccer League (WNSL) – defunct Australian women's national league


  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. ^ "FFA reaches in principle agreement for independent A-League". The Roar. 2 July 2019.
  9. ^ "W-LEAGUE". Soccer Way. Retrieved 30 November 2013.
  10. ^ "Westfield W-League fixtures and results". Football Federation Australia. Archived from the original on 14 December 2013. Retrieved 30 November 2013.
  11. ^ "Westfield W-League Season to kick off December 29 with NEW broadcast agreement". Football Australia. 24 December 2020. Retrieved 26 December 2020.
  12. ^ "Fairer wages for women to dominate CBA talks". theworldgame.sbs.com.au. Retrieved 14 July 2015.
  13. ^ "W-League 2013: Melissa Barbieri has to sell possessions to play". smh.com.au. Retrieved 12 July 2015.
  14. ^ "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.
  15. ^ 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.
  16. ^ "W-League players to get huge pay increase for new season". espnfc.com. 11 September 2017. Retrieved 12 September 2017.
  17. ^ "Fans able to watch every match of the Westfield W-League 2018/19 Season". 5 September 2018. Retrieved 28 September 2018.
  18. ^ "ESPN+ Acquires Broadcast Rights to Westfield W-League in the United States". 10 August 2018. Retrieved 28 September 2018.
  19. ^ "Fans in more corners of the globe set to watch Australian football this season". 18 October 2018. Retrieved 18 October 2018.
  20. ^ "ABC strikes deal with FFA to become free-to-air home of football in Australia". ABC News. 3 October 2019.
  21. ^ "Kate Jacewicz to referee the Westfield W-League 2019 Grand Final". Football Federation Australia. 13 February 2019. Retrieved 13 February 2019.
  22. ^ "Australia W-League Women All-time appearances 1–50". www.worldfootball.net. Retrieved 19 July 2020.

External links[edit]

  • Official website