First round AFLW Draft picks at Marvel Stadium on December 18, 2023 in Melbourne, Australia. Picture: AFL Photos

THE AFLW could move to a fully national draft as soon as the end of this year.

The opinions of football bosses from all 18 AFLW teams were canvassed at a meeting on Tuesday, and the feedback was mostly positive.

Last year's supplementary and full drafts saw players able to nominate for either the national pool or choose to be drafted only in their home state, while the 2022 draft was fully state-based.

The change would see that home-state option removed, although players could theoretically still be free to inform clubs of their preferences in pre-draft interviews.

Victorian Mikayla Williamson reacts with family and friends during the 2023 AFLW Draft at Marvel Stadium, December 18, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

Clubs were pleasantly surprised to see 69 per cent of nominees select the national pool last year.

At the top end of the draft, the numbers were slightly different, with 12 of the top 16 selecting national, but nine of the first round of 21 picking their home state.

If players were talented enough to be virtually guaranteed to get drafted, some felt they weren't limiting their chances by only nominating their home state.

A national pool also allows talent to be more equitably spread, theoretically fast-tracking the rise of developing sides.

With a smaller talent pool in New South Wales, both Greater Western Sydney and Sydney were able to capitalise on national nominations.

The Giants landed top WA prospect Kaitlyn Srhoj with pick No.3, and Victorian Indigo Linde later in the draft. Victorian pair Sarah Grunden and Lara Hausegger joined the Swans with picks 16 and 33.

Kaitlyn Srhoj and Cameron Bernasconi, Senior Coach of the Giants during the 2023 AFLW Draft at Marvel Stadium, December 18, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

The potential move to a fully national draft has been enabled by increasing pay and the introduction of 12-month contracts. Only a handful of players at each club still hold a full-time job outside of football, with the vast majority of those players being over 30.

Sixteen players per side sit in the tier four payment band – the base pay into which most draftees will fall – and the salary for that group will rise from $56,077 to $67,337 in 2025, $70,030 in 2026 and $72,373 at the end of the CBA in 2027.

As set out by the CBA, first-year players are also entitled to a relocation allowance if moving interstate (including costs of moving belongings), and a living allowance of up to $16,500 for purchase of household items, rent or other relocation expenses (by approval of the club's player development manager in accordance to AFL guidelines).

AFLW first-year players can also claim six return economy flights and four nights' accommodation at their new location for family, to both assist with their move and allow for help and visits throughout the year.


The trade period and draft are once again likely to be held in December, following the conclusion of the AFLW season, with dates to be confirmed when the fixture is released mid-year.

While it makes for an incredibly hectic end to the year – with Brisbane and North Melbourne having just three days between last year's Grand Final and the start of the trade period – the overwhelming sentiment is the rush is worth it, allowing for a proper break over summer without clubs surreptitiously wheeling and dealing.

The top 10 of this year's draft is considered to be significantly deeper than last year, in part due to the number of elite players who were tied to expansion clubs and signed prior to the draft.

At this stage, names to watch in that top bracket include Zippy Fish, Molly O'Hehir (WA); Victorians Ash Centra, Sierra Grieves, Sara Howley and Lucia Painter; Gold Coast Academy's Havana Harris; potential Carlton father-daughter Sophie McKay, Ash Patton (ACT) and South Australians India Rasheed, Poppy Scholz and Jas Evans.