AFLW season situation 'bad': Blues coach

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Carlton AFLW coach Daniel Harford has hit out at the lack of clarity about the next women's season just three months away from the expected start date.

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.

But Harford, who is trying to rebuild the Blues' list, has described the prolonged uncertainty as a "very bad outcome".

The AFL and the AFL Players Association are still in negotiations as they attempt to sign off on a new collective bargaining agreement.

"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.

"I've got no idea about anything, no one's saying anything, which is very difficult.

"I know there's negotiations for the CBA and between the players and headquarters is to-ing and fro-ing and they're having those little moments, and you probably can't do too much without that.

"But seriously, if it's going to start in August we'll be starting training in June, and we're in early May.

"So we'll start training in five weeks if we're going to start the August timeline, and we don't actually know who's playing for us yet.

"There's no draft timeline. It's a bad outcome. It's a very bad outcome.

"Just tell us. I'm not sure too many competitions will be running like this around the globe."

Collingwood captain Steph Chiocci, who works in education, described it as 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," she wrote on Twitter.

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 Madison 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.

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