THE FOUR expansion clubs will be able to sign up to 14 current AFLW players in a special 'expansion signing period', in proposed rules released by the AFL on Monday.

Essendon, Hawthorn, Port Adelaide and Sydney will join the NAB AFLW competition ahead of the 2022-23 season, rounding out all 18 clubs. 

The AFL hasn’t yet confirmed rules around the number of players per existing club who can move to new clubs. 

EXPLAINER Everything you need to know about AFLW expansion

Last expansion round, Brisbane and Fremantle could lose up to eight players, given Gold Coast and West Coast were entering the competition, with other teams losing up to four. 

The new clubs can also acquire players through the following methods:

  • Open-age signings: players who have previously nominated for the NAB AFLW Draft and aren’t on a list
  • Under-18 talent from their NGA region. There will be a limit on this category, which is yet to be determined
  • Sign and trade period: following the expansion signing period. Expansion clubs cannot on-trade players they have signed through other mechanisms
  • NAB AFLW Draft

The expansion clubs will receive the first eight picks of the state-based draft, with the order to be determined at random. 

They will then receive remaining picks at the end of each round, following the existing 14 clubs. 

A number of Essendon and Hawthorn VFLW players nominated for the 2021 draft, making them eligible for signing as an open-age player. 

Bombers VFLW skipper and competition best and fairest Georgia Nanscawen opted not to nominate for the 2021 draft, but should be eligible as an open-age signing as she has previously gone through the drafting process. 

The AFL has said final list build rules will be determined in 2022.