‘Life-changing’: AFLW players secure 94 per cent pay rise in new one-year deal

AFLW players have had their pay almost doubled under a new one-year collective bargaining agreement (CBA) but remain at odds with the AFL over the length of the season.
Announced on Thursday, the deal covers the seventh season of the AFLW competition, which has been brought forward to start in late August, during the bye week before the AFL men’s finals series.

It will feature 10 home-and-away rounds plus an expanded four-week finals series, culminating in the grand final on the last weekend of November.


Top-tier players will be paid $71,935, while the minimum AFLW wage will increase from $20,239 to $39,184.
The average increase across the four pay brackets is 94 per cent.
AFLPA chief executive Paul Marsh said one player had described the pay boost as “life-changing”.
AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan believes the quality of the deal cancelled out prior player frustration and uncertainty over the length of time it had taken for an agreement to be reached, particularly once it became clear the next season would be brought forward.
“I think they were frustrated yesterday but I don’t think they would be today,” Mr McLachlan said.
“We were all committed to the right outcome for the players and for the competition.
“I reckon the outcome today, which I think is a great deal for the AFLW players and for AFLW and for all of football, means that people move on pretty quickly and think the extra few days was probably worth it.”
A man speaking.

AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan Source: AAP

The new CBA will expire at the same time as the men’s deal, opening the door for joint negotiations.

AFLW players are still eager to see the length of the season expanded, preferably to a 17-game season where each team plays each other once, plus finals, with that desire set to be a major factor in the next pay deal.

The players are also hopeful of achieving full professionalism within four years.


Western Bulldogs skipper Ellie Blackburn accepts 10 games plus four finals worked for the upcoming campaign, given the tight four-month turnaround between seasons, but wanted more games in the long-term.
“Ideally we’d love to play everyone once and I don’t think as a playing group, we’re shy about acknowledging that,” Blackburn said.
“Obviously that’s in the plan for long-term for the game, so if we can get to that, that’d be great.”
Mr McLachlan said a 10-game regular season was “the right number” for the upcoming season as the AFL wanted to see how the competitive balance, with the league expanding, trended.

Each of the 18 AFL clubs will be represented in the women’s competition next season with the addition of Essendon, Hawthorn, Port Adelaide and Sydney.

Western Bulldogs captain Ellie Blackburn poses with an AFL football.

Western Bulldogs skipper Ellie Blackburn. Source: AAP / James Ross

The expansion signing period for those clubs will begin on 24 May, while all clubs will commence pre-season training on 13 June.

“It’s (the delayed CBA) obviously been difficult for those players that are looking to move and explore options elsewhere at different clubs,” Blackburn said.
“Obviously, this deal allows that to happen now in the coming weeks so those players can get some certainty about where they’ll be playing their footy.”

The AFLW draft will be held on 29 June.

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