AFLW players and coaches continue to voice their frustration about the lack of clarity surrounding when the next season will start.
- August is the proposed start date for the next season
- Collingwood’s Steph Chiocci described the uncertainty as a “sad reality”
- Four clubs will join the AFLW to form an 18-team competition
August is the expected start date, four months after the most recent season finished.
Frustration is boiling over at clubs about how to prepare their part-time players as the competition expands to 18 teams next season with the addition of Sydney, Port Adelaide, Hawthorn and Essendon.
Players are prepared to adjust their lives so they can feature in the AFLW and have already started booking in leave periods from work around the mooted August kick-off.
The AFL and the AFL Players’ Association (AFLPA) are still in negotiations as they attempt to sign off on a new collective bargaining agreement.
Collingwood co-captain Steph Chiocci, who works in education, said the uncertainty was a “sad reality.”
“My leave without pay has already been approved for term 3 and 4 in preparation for an August start that may not happen,” Chiocci wrote on Twitter.
Carlton coach Daniel Harford described the prolonged uncertainty as a “very bad outcome”.
“If anyone’s listening, a timeline would be nice for the competition, even just for trade and list management and that sort of stuff,” Harford told RSN on Thursday.
Chiocci’s Magpies teammate Sarah Rowe kicked off a discussion on social media last week after pleading for the league to let players “plan their lives.”
Rowe’s tweet was replied to and shared by several other players, including Adelaide star Ebony Marinoff and Melbourne spearhead Tayla Harris.
The four new clubs cannot fully build their lists until the sign-and-trade period dates are locked in, but the Bombers have been able to snare star Maddy Prespakis and fellow Carlton player Georgia Gee from the Blues.
Three-time Adelaide premiership superstar Erin Phillips has crossed from the Crows to Port Adelaide, the club her father starred for at SANFL level.
The AFLPA has previously flagged it wants players on fully professional 12-month contracts by 2026.