The 2021 Optus WAFLW Premiership Season gets underway this Saturday and what better way to open proceedings than the premiers of the first two years of the competition locking horns.
The 2021 WAFLW season is starting earlier this year to be run more in line with the national AFLW competition, and the great positive is that female football has some clear air now in the coming weeks and months to grab the fascinating of the West Australian sporting public.
Once again the season will feature six clubs with Peel Thunder, East Fremantle, Claremont, Subiaco and Swan Districts the five inaugural teams from the first season of the WAFLW competition in 2019, and now South Fremantle is entering its second season.
There was a lot of challenges faced last year in the late starting and shortened season in 2020 thanks to COVID-19, but now there is a full season scheduled for 2021 and it all gets underway this weekend with all six of the clubs in action.
The first game of the 2021 WAFLW season takes place at Mandurah's David Grays Arena on Saturday evening at 5pm with Peel Thunder taking on East Fremantle.
That game looms as a fascinating one in a lot of different aspects and not the least because they are the two premiership teams from the opening two seasons of the WAFLW competition.
East Fremantle won back in 2019 with a Grand Final victory to savour against Swan Districts while Peel Thunder delivered fairytale story in 2020 to go from wooden spooners in that inaugural season to go all the way to win the flag with a stunning Grand Final victory against Subiaco.
Saturday night will provide Peel with the opportunity unfurl that premiership flag in front of their home fans in Mandurah as they celebrate that remarkable achievement of a year ago.
But the Sharks are never an easy team to beat and always have been a powerhouse in female football in WA so it shapes as the most fascinating of season openers for both Peel and East Fremantle in Mandurah on Saturday night.
And if you can't get down to watch the game live and in person on Saturday night, it will be live streamed courtesy of Front Row Screens.
The other two Round 1 match ups to open the 2021 WAFLW season take place on Sunday afternoon.
First up is South Fremantle beginning their second season in the competition on home turf against Subiaco at Fremantle Community Bank Oval.
While the Bulldogs went winless in their first season last year and the Lions claimed a second straight minor premiership and made the Grand Final, this game could very well be more competitive than that suggests.
South Fremantle improved rapidly from Round 1 to the end of that season in 2020 to the point where they put in a tremendously competitive showing last up against Subiaco.
The Bulldogs without question will have improved from that experience last year and they also have exciting young talent to come through the ranks and receive opportunities after their Youth Girls team won the Rogers Cup premiership in 2020.
Then there is Subiaco who have a point to prove in 2021 that they can go all the way in the WAFLW competition.
The Lions finished on top back in 2019 before missing out in the Grand Final with a preliminary final loss and then again they finished on top last year, got the Grand Final but ultimately lost to Peel Thunder.
With both teams having plenty to prove for different reasons, this shapes as a tantalising Round 1 match up too.
And then last up for Round 1 will be Swan Districts and Claremont doing battle at Bassendean's Steel Blue Oval.
Both teams have been powerhouse female clubs in WA football for some time and are still chasing that first premiership in the WAFLW competition.
Both of them are full of talent, both clubs have provided a lot of players to get an opportunity in the AFLW competition, and now it's going to be well worth checking out to see how they start off the new season against one another on Sunday.
The game will be broadcast live thanks to The West Australian.
Now on top of the WAFLW fixtures to take place across the weekend, the Reserves and Rogers Cup competitions get underway as well.
The reserves matches between the same clubs will all be played at the same venues as lead in to the WAFLW fixtures while the Rogers Cup contests will open the days across the grounds.
There will also be West Perth playing East Perth on Sunday at 3pm at Joondalup's Provident Financial Oval in a Youth Girls Rogers Cup match up.
OPTUS WAFLW PREMIERSHIP SEASON - ROUND 1
PEEL THUNDER v EAST FREMANTLE – DAVID GRAYS ARENA, SATURDAY 5.00PM
Live scores, stats
Live stream from Front Row Screens
SOUTH FREMANTLE v SUBIACO – FREMANTLE COMMUNITY BANK OVAL, SUNDAY 1.00PM
Live scores, stats
SWAN DISTRICTS v CLAREMONT – STEEL BLUE OVAL, SUNDAY 2.00PM
Live scores, stats
Livestream from The West Australian