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Catch up on the AFLW off-season

In a huge sigh of relief, the AFL Commission has confirmed that the 2021 AFLW season will go ahead as agreed in the 2019 CBA, and this isn’t the only update we’ve had so far in this AFLW off-season, so here’s the rundown.

Vivien Saad gets a kick away against Melbourne. AFLW off-season news. Image: Megan Brewer
Vivien Saad gets a kick away against Melbourne. Image: Megan Brewer

Trade and Sign Period

The time period where clubs sign the bulk of their list, where most of your favourites have their contracts renewed and an unfortunate few aren’t so lucky. This period will also see players and draft picks traded between clubs.

Clubs can sign up to 27 players in this time, including rookies.

Monday August 3—Trade and sign period begins (12pm)
Wednesday August 12—Trade period ends (2pm)
Monday August 17—Re-signing & restricted free agent period ends (2pm)
Friday August 21—Delisted free agent period ends (2pm)

With this, the AFLW draft order will be confirmed. The draft date will be confirmed prior to August 3rd.

Confirmation of 2021 Season

The AFL has confirmed that the 2021 AFLW season will go ahead as planned in the 2019 Collective Bargaining Agreement. This will see a nine week home and away season kick off in February, followed by a three week finals series.

This announcement also included confirmation that player payments would also remain as agreed in the CBA.


The following players have retired from AFLW footy since the season’s premature cancellation:

  • Laura Bailey (WB, RICH); 13 games in 3 seasons, drafted at no. 143 2016 (Western Bulldogs), delisted 2018, drafted at no. 71 2019 (Richmond)
  • Nicole Callinan (WB); 24 games in 4 seasons, drafted at no. 85 2016, 2018 premiership player
  • Jess Foley (ADL); 13 games in 2 seasons, drafted at no. 30 2018, 2019 premiership player
  • Emma Grant (COLL); 20 games in 3 seasons, drafted at no. 91 2016
  • Melissa Hickey (MEL, GEE); 25 games in 4 seasons, marquee signing 2016 (Melbourne), expansion signing 2018 (Geelong)
  • Eliza Hynes (COLL); 10 games in 3 seasons, cross-code rookie selection 2017
  • Emma Mackie (WB, STK); 9 games in 3 seasons, drafted at no. 27 2017 (Western Bulldogs), expansion signing 2019 (St Kilda)
  • Lauren Tesoriero (COLL, RICH); 15 games in 3 seasons, drafted at no. 107 2016 (Collingwood), delisted 2018, drafted at no. 96 2019 (Richmond)

This is in addition to Amanda Farrugia’s shock retirement on the eve of the season’s launch, who captained the Giants for 21 games across 3 seasons after being drafted at no. 64 2016.

Related—Melissa Hickey on Nicole Callinan

Coaching movements

The Melbourne Demons recently announced the re-signing of coach Mick Stinear for his fifth season at the helm. He is currently one of just two inaugural team coaches remaining, with news about Craig Starcevich (Brisbane Lions) yet to be announced.

North Melbourne have chosen not to renew Scott Gowans’ contract for 2021, after Gowans led the Roos to 11 wins and just three losses in their first two seasons in the competition. Men’s scout Darren Crocker has been named as Gowans’ replacement.

After a winless inaugural season, Richmond have also cut ties with coach Tom Hunter and are yet to name a replacement.

VFLW ‘Super Series’

Replacing the traditional VFLW season this year will be a ‘Super Series’ largely presented as an opportunity for draft hopefuls to showcase their talent. 120 players will be distributed across four manufactured teams to each play three matches, with a final ‘All Stars’ game to close the series—made up of players who star across the first three rounds. This will be held throughout September, with further details regarding these new teams, player selection and more yet to be announced.

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