AFLW ready for expansion: Gillon McLachlan

AFL boss Gillon McLachlan is bullish about the women's league expansion, saying their focus is long-term growth and what they are doing is sustainable.

The third AFLW season was launched on Wednesday and it will feature new teams North Melbourne and Geelong, with four more to join next year.

It will inevitably mean comparisons to the BBL, which has suffered significant growing pains this summer after introducing more games and a longer season.

By contrast, the women's BBL was a major success.

When asked about the BBL, McLachlan was adamant he was only interested in what the AFLW is doing.

But he is equally confident they are going about expansion the right way, with the introduction of a conference system and expanding the finals format.

"There are more games (with two more teams), but the same season length, because clearly this is a 100-year, multi-generational investment," he said.

"Growing at the right speed is forefront for us.

"I don't have a comment on other sports - all I do is look at ourselves.

"Lots of people have different views, but we want to do it sustainably and that's why we stayed at seven rounds."

The AFL's message is that they are banking on robust growth, rather than growing pains.

The season opens on Saturday night, with Geelong hosting Carlton and Adelaide playing the Western Bulldogs.

"I'm really bullish about the season ahead, from what I'm hearing in the practice games, the high scoring, the football that people are seeing," he said.

"It gives me a level of confidence coming into this weekend that the footy is going to be really good."

McLachlan added that the AFLW is making the changes with their eyes wide open.

"We're obviously making assessments about the speed of growth and how we expand all the time," he said.

"It's not an exact science, but we're investing in the base, the community, working with our clubs, and we're confident we're ready to expand.

"We're confident that the talent is there and also that the players who've been in the system for a while have improved.

"It's their third pre-season and we're hearing it consistently from the clubs, that the skills have improved and the fitness levels are better."