AFLW players still in the dark over collective bargaining agreement as proposed August start date nears

AFL Players Association president Patrick Dangerfield suggests patience could pay off for AFLW players amid growing frustration around the speed of negotiations over a new collective bargaining agreement (CBA).

The women’s competition will expand to 18 teams for its seventh season, which is slated to begin in the last week of August, leading into the men’s finals series.

Pre-season is due to start in June but there is still no CBA in place, with the length of the deal and length of the season believed to be key sticking points.

“I’d prefer to get the right deal than rush a deal through that the players aren’t happy with, or something that isn’t fair,” Dangerfield said on Friday.

“I don’t think what we’re asking for is unreasonable, but it’s got to be reflective of the input our female players have in the game, the work that they put in.

“As much as we all want certainty around that, it’s got to be the right deal.”

Most AFLW players say they eventually want a full-length home-and-away season, but the league has so far been reluctant to commit to more than 10 rounds plus finals.

AFLPA president Patrick Dangerfield says players’ part-time status must be considered during negotiations with the AFL.(AAP: Darren England)

Dangerfield said the length of the season and remuneration for players are key focuses for the AFLPA in negotiations.

“Finances are a really important part of this,” Dangerfield said.

“You’ve got to be rewarded for the time that you put in and, if we expect the game to improve, then you’ve got to invest in that part of it.

“There’s detail around that that’s being worked through and then there’s clearly the length of season.

As yet, there has been no official confirmation around dates for AFLW player signing periods, the draft or the season schedule.

Several players have taken to social media in recent weeks to vent their frustration at the lack of information provided by the AFL, particularly as the organisation appears to prioritise planning for the men’s league.


However, on Friday, outgoing AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan said clubs were last week given indicative dates to work with.

“The season will be starting in that last weekend of August, coming into the men’s [finals],” McLachlan told 3AW radio.

“I know that the clubs and our female players, as we go to 18 teams this season, want to know exact specifics.

“We’ve just got to get this deal done with the Players Association … but we’ll get there.”


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