DRAFTEES who are still completing year 12 will be able to play AFLW in the upcoming season, but will be required to work with a newly appointed AFLW player engagement manager to create bespoke programs to balance school and footy.

Players who fall into this category will be known as "development players" and will work with the engagement manager, their club's player development manager, their school and their parent/carer to prioritise their final year of study.

Engagement plans will be created with each player, outlining their school and study commitments, key dates and the individual support needed to complete year 12.

Bridie Hipwell runs the 2km time trial during the Melbourne NAB AFLW Draft Combine on May 25, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

Each player's plan will be different, as some are keen to maximise their ATAR while others have already decided to finish year 12 through an alternative route.

Some of the incoming draft class - particularly those from Queensland - have already graduated.

Development players will have to attend one training session a week, with one optional session also available, while training plans can also be created with the club to provide flexibility if required.


The previous pre-season – which started in September – also saw draftees attend limited training sessions, but all had graduated by the time the season commenced.

Selection to play is dependent on a conversation between the club and the player development manager.

Once a student has graduated, they can rejoin the full AFLW program.

If players need to relocate after the NAB AFLW Draft (e.g. regional or interstate, the latter of which only occurs after a player has nominated that particular state), they can move after they finish school, and can train with their current club in the meantime.