New clubs given OK for AFLW player raids

·2-min read

AFLW expansion clubs will be able to raid rivals' lists to sign up to 14 experienced players for their inaugural squads, under recruitment rules confirmed by the league.

Four clubs - Essendon, Hawthorn, Port Adelaide and Sydney - will enter the competition for its seventh season in 2022-23.

It will mean all 18 AFL clubs have a team in the top women's competition.

On Monday, the AFL outlined rules around player recruitment for the expansion clubs, allowing each of them to sign up to 14 players currently on AFLW lists.

It will be done through the 'expansion signing period', which shapes as their primary way of recruiting talent.

There may yet be a maximum number of players who are allowed to leave existing clubs, as there was in the previous round of expansion.

Last time, Brisbane and Fremantle could lose up to eight players, given their respective intrastate rivals Gold Coast and West Coast were entering the competition, while other teams could lose up to four players.

Expansion clubs will also look to their state-based drafts to stock up on young and new players.

In addition, they will be able to sign any player who has previously nominated for the draft and is not listed with any AFLW club, as well as under-18 talent from their Next Generation Academy regions.

AFLW season six will be played over 10 home-and-away rounds, starting on January 7, culminating in a six-team finals series.

Players are hopeful season seven will be a longer version when the competition expands to 18 teams.

However, the AFL has indicated it will not rush into a full-length competition where all teams play each other at least once.

Meanwhile, AFLW clubs have set a new membership record this year, with more than 33,000 signed up across the 18 clubs.

Despite being a year away from their first match in the competition, Sydney boast the most members with 3501 paid-up supporters on the books.

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