AFLW start date expected to be announced in a few days

The start date of the next AFLW season will be announced in a few days, following a breakthrough in negotiations with the players’ union.

AFLW clubs have been given tentative dates for the competition, which will move from a summer time slot to an August start date.

The delay in revealing the exact start date has been criticized by many AFLW players.

But AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan said negotiations on a new AFLW collective bargaining agreement with the players’ union were nearly complete.

“I’m sure we will reach an agreement within the next 24 to 36 hours,” McLachlan told reporters in Adelaide on Monday.

“It’s important that we get the result right for our players and also for the 18 clubs… and for women’s football in general.

“I hope people understand that moving to an early start date without collective bargaining [agreement]these things take some time.

“The players know that we will play in August. The clubs have provisional dates.

“We’re close… I’m optimistic we’ll have an announcement in the next few days.”

Four new clubs will enter the AFLW next season, making it an 18-team competition.

Last season’s league was a nine-round competition followed by finals that ended with a grand final on April 9.

Only one of Chelsea Randall or Daisy Pearce will lift the trophy today.(Getty Images: James Elsby)

Players want more rounds, given the increased number of clubs, but McLachlan hinted that their wish may not be granted.

“Generally speaking, the cohort of female players wants to play a longer season,” McLachlan said.

“It is also our opinion [that] we will incorporate four more teams and we want to consolidate before expanding.

“That’s obviously something we’ve been discussing.

“It’s a real issue for the players, I know… it’s obviously something that has been a key part of the discussions.”

Meanwhile, expansion team Hawthorn have attracted Tilly Lucas-Rodd (St Kilda), Jess Duffin (North Melbourne), Janet Baird (Gold Coast) and Akec Makur Chuot (Richmond) from rival clubs for their inaugural AFLW season. .

Aware , updated

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