First-round picks from the 2023 AFLW draft class at Marvel Stadium on December 18, 2023. Picture: AFL Photos

THE NAB AFL Women's competition will move to a fully national draft for the first time, transitioning away from the state-based model that has been used in some form in previous years.

As reported by in April, club bosses had given broad support to the shift to a national draft and the move was signed off by the AFL Commission on Tuesday.

Last year's drafts gave players the option to nominate for either the national pool or choose to be drafted only to clubs in their home state, while the 2022 draft was fully state-based.

But a pay increase as part of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, with increased base pay, the introduction of 12-month contracts and relocation allowances, means the cost of moving interstate is less prohibitive than it may have been in previous years.

Players could theoretically still inform clubs of their preferences in pre-draft interviews. But with 69 per cent of players nominating for the national pool last year, the move to a fully national draft was well supported.

A national pool would theoretically spread talent more evenly, boosting clubs in states like NSW that have previously had a smaller talent pool of local players to choose from.

Sydney and GWS players in action during the R1 AFLW match at North Sydney Oval on September 3, 2023. Picture: Getty Images/AFL Photos

It will come into effect for this year's Telstra AFLW Draft in December, where players will be recruited for the 2025 season.

"As the league continues to evolve, we're seeing more draftees willing to chase their football dreams by moving interstate," AFL footy boss Laura Kane said.

"An AFLW draftee from this year can earn up to $83,837 in salary and relocation allowances. This transition coincides with an increase of investment in talent pathways, meaning the players coming through the ranks are more prepared for elite-level footy than ever before.

STATEMENT AFLW evolves to national draft

"This will allow our rising stars to be more equally spread across the league, fast tracking the improvement of developing sides and strengthening the competitive balance of the competition.

"I'd like to thank the AFLPA and our clubs for their support of this important next step for the NAB AFLW Competition."

The new CBA signed last year means only a handful of players at each club still hold a full-time job outside of football, with the 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 2024 AFL season will start on August 30, in the bye week before the men's finals, and conclude with the Grand Final on November 30.

The trade and draft periods will be held in December.