AFL Riverina clubs have been informed of the fixture and format of the 2024 Southern NSW Women's League this week.
While it was confirmed last month teams would play a minimum of eight games in an extended season, the biggest difference from last season is the introduction of a four pool system.
Teams will play each club in their own pool and one other, before having a crossover game in round eight ahead of a three week finals series.
The top two teams from each pool will progress to the knock-out format finals, with teams unable to earn a second chance.
In 2023 clubs were divided between two pools based on their performance in the previous season, however in 2024 four pools will be based on geography.
Competition co-ordinator Dee Anderson said the change comes following feedback the league received at the conclusion of the 2023 season.
With clubs expressing concern that travel was deterring potential players from joining their teams, the decision was made to group neighbouring clubs together.
"It's not based on who is the best team or anything like that, it's pools of locations and that way it allows clubs like Leeton and Griffith to get more players to play because they don't have to travel as much," Anderson said.
"Player availability was in mind, with people working later, there's a few kids from boarding school, so to get from boarding in Leeton to Wagga is impossible, but if it's Leeton to Narrandera, that's totally doable, it could give them an extra 10 players if they're not travelling two hours.
"We want to give every club an opportunity and we did the survey and a lot of it was saying there's a lot of travel on a Friday night, so we wanted to try and do it the best way so the furtherest you'll travel in the first three quarters of the draw is 45-minutes."
Also changing thanks to survey feedback is the length of games, with quarters extended from 12-minutes to 15-minutes.
With 14 double headers planned, the longer games will cause changes to starting times, but Anderson those discussions will occur once the draw is given a final sign off.
"We were starting at 6:30 last year, if it's a double header they might be brought forward to 6:15 if it's local teams and they're not travelling too far," Anderson said.
"If it's in round eight, which is more travel, we'll look at probably starting and finishing later."
The league hopes more double header fixtures will improve both the attendance and atmosphere at games.
"We find that it draws a really good crowd and atmosphere, and it helps the umpires too," she said.
"It is really hard to get umpires on a Friday night in the off-season so if we've got the umpires there they can do two games, and we can get people together and other teams can all support each other.
"And footy under lights is fun."
Anderson emphasised that flexibility should be the key takeaway for clubs.
At the time of writing, five clubs Brookdale, North Wagga, Leeton, Temora, and Wagga Tigers have nominated alternative venues to their traditional home fields due to clashes with local cricket seasons.
Should club's fields become available, Anderson said the league is open to amending fixtures to allow clubs to play at their home grounds.
Early feedback on the draw has been positive, with final amendments to be made in the coming weeks.
Southern NSW Women's League fixture, round one
Collingullie-Wagga v Charles Sturt University at Crossroads Oval.
East Wagga-Kooringal v Brookdale at Maher Oval.
Mangoplah-Cookardinia United-Eastlakes v North Wagga at Mangoplah Oval.
Wagga Tigers v Turvey Park at Maher Oval.
Griffith v Leeton at Griffith Ex-Servicemen's Fields.
Narrandera v Northern Jets at Narrandera Sportsground.
Marrar v Coolamon at Langtry Oval.
Ganmain-Grong Grong-Matong v Temora at Langtry Oval.