AFL won't yet commit to AFLW players' full-time dream
Under pressure to outline a "vision" for its elite women's competition, the AFL remains non-committal on whether it sees the AFLW reaching the point of full-time professionalism.
Carlton chief executive Brian Cook last month put heat on the AFL officials to produce a long-term strategic plan for the AFLW.
It came amid ongoing pleas from many within the women's game for a future that includes the majority of AFLW players and staff advancing beyond their current part-time status.
Players also want the home-and-away season to be expanded beyond the current 10 rounds, to incorporate all clubs playing each of their rivals at least once.
Cook queried the AFL's desire to develop the women's competition to that point and league chief executive Gillon McLachlan would not commit to it when quizzed on the subject this week.
"It's a really interesting question," McLachlan told AAP.
"We want women to be very well paid athletes making a living out of football.
"But I think we take a line of sight through the men's competition and one of our bigger challenges is transitioning post-football.
"Those who have had careers or who have got qualifications or trades in parallel with their football have transitioned in an easier way.
"We have those learnings and those lessons from the men's and we're applying them to the women's.
"The pay will grow and the minimum wage now is $40,000 for a 10-round season, but we are very keen to continue to work with our female athletes so they also have an eye to post-football and have a life that contemplates at some point that you have to transition."
AFLW players had their pay almost doubled under a one-season collective bargaining agreement struck last May.
Top-tier players were to be paid $71,935 for season seven, which was completed in November, while the minimum AFLW wage increased from $20,239 to $39,184.
The average increase across the four pay brackets was 94 per cent.
The AFL and AFL Players Association are currently locked in negotiations over a new CBA for season eight - slated to start in August - and beyond.
Last month, Blues boss Cook said the question of full-time professionalism in the AFLW came down to resources.
"It's about when can the AFL invest at larger levels, in larger amounts, and how quickly the AFL want for this competition to become full-time - if they actually do," Cook said.
"I've never heard that really yet (from the AFL).
"There is work towards the AFL setting targets to reach before we get 14 rounds (or) 18 rounds.
"I don't think the AFL can afford to do it all next year, for instance.
"That's my perception and really it's a question the AFL have to answer."