The merits of a conference system can be argued until you are blue in the face. What is indisputable is that two cut throat preliminary finals will be played this weekend that will determine the Grand Finalists for AFLW 3.
The best panels of AFLW umpires have also been assembled and they represent every state in Australia and reflects the next group of umpires coming from a broad range of backgrounds and experiences.
Five of the six field umpires who have been selected this weekend are AFL Rookie contracted.
Nathan Toner (Vic), Andrew Heffernan (Vic), Jamie Broadbent (SA), Paul Rebeschini (Vic) and Daniel Johanson (WA) get to put their names up for AFLW grand final honours.
The sixth, Nick McGuiness from the ACT has been added to the Advanced Umpire Academy program in 2019 and is also in line for the grand final.
Interestingly the three newly contracted AFL field umpires all impressed in the AFLW competition last season and with one AFL contract still up for selection these six men have put themselves front and centre for selection. The two emergency field umpires James Strybos (Qld) and Giles Lewis (SA) are also AFL Rookie contracted and will assist in these matches.
On the boundary representing NSW/ACT are Benjamin Fely and David Wood. Ty Duncan, represents Qld. Nicholas Phillips, Sam Stagg, Kieran Ferguson and Greta Miller represent Victoria with Jordan Russell representing WA.
In the goals, Callum Leonard comes from Victoria, Brayden White (Tas), Tiana Fry (WA) and Matthew Bridges (Qld). Emergencies are Simon Plumridge (Vic) and Emilie Hill (SA).
We wish all of our umpires the best for preliminary final weekend.