Coaches call for medi-sub rule in AFLW

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AFLW coaches and players are calling for the medi-sub rule to be implemented with more than seven players sustaining season-ending injuries.

The medical substitution rule was introduced in the men's game to enable teams to have a full line-up if a player was deemed medically unfit to continue to play.

Unlike the men's league where 18 are on the field with four on the bench, AFLW games are played with 16 on the field and five on the bench.

One game-day emergency is allowed for the women but the emergency is left out of the game if there are not required to sub in before the final on-field warm-up.

Hawthorn last weekend lost two leadership-group members Tamara Luke (knee) and Louise Stephenson (ankle), leaving the bench with only three players for the entirety of the match.

Melbourne key defender Libby Birch believes forcing players to run out a whole game without a full bench increases injury risk.

"The running intensity and overall load is condensed on fewer players," Birch wrote in an opinion piece published on the AFLW website on Tuesday.

"In a condensed season of only 10 rounds, every match matters."

Hawthorn coach Bec Goddard agreed with Birch, saying she can't see why the AFLW didn't have the rule to begin with.

"To have the ability to use one of those players to make sure we can run the game out ... that would be a really useful thing going forward," Goddard told reporters on Thursday.

Goddard said there needs to be real action from the AFLW to protect players, especially when women are four to six times more likely to tear their ACL.

"An ACL injury is much more significant than just a season of football," said Goddard.

"It affects personal lives, their professional working lives.

"What we know now after six seasons, and now six ACL injuries in two rounds of football, is that there's an issue.

"It would be remiss of me not to say that whatever we can do, we should be doing."

GWS also experienced injury carnage with three players sidelined for the rest of the season.

The Giants have some good news though in the return of former No.1 draft pick Nicola Barr after an ongoing knee injury.

Barr said injuries were "unavoidable" in a contact sport but added the winter start will help to reduce risk of injury.

"Playing over summer, particularly in Western Sydney has been extremely hard in that heat," said Barr.

"Now playing in cooler months will probably help us in terms of recovery."