THE rebel VFLW competition will remain virtually unchanged in the 2022 season, with only a small tweak made to the development player selection rule.

While clubs will still select 21 players for a match, AFLW and AFLW-aligned teams now only must select five under-22 development players each week (down from six), while the requirement for the four standalone clubs remains at three.

Indigenous players who have yet to make their VFLW debuts can now also be signed as Category B development players alongside NAB Leaguers and Next Generation Academy members.

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The VFLW’s 12 teams will again play 14 home-and-away matches across 16 rounds from Saturday, February 12, with the fixture due to be released shortly.

The early start means a full talent pathway to the AFLW will be in place for the first time, with the NAB League Girls to also get underway in February, providing more opportunities for clubs to produce the next Daisy Pearce, Darcy Vescio or Katie Brennan.

In fact, that process is already well underway, with Geelong’s NAB AFL Women’s Draft No.2 pick Georgie Prespakis having dominated the rebel VFLW finals for Essendon this year.

Vic Metro's Georgie Prespakis in action during the 2021 U19 Championships. Picture: AFL Photos

AFL State League competitions manager Jennie Loughnan said it was exciting to see women’s football take centre stage in Victoria to kick off the 2022 season.

"The rebel VFLW competition has been a foundation league in Victoria for many years and an exciting pathway for young women," she said.

"We are delighted with the growth in the women's game and to see the emerging talent across all levels is very exciting.

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"The VFLW has an exciting season ahead as more girls continue to progress on their football journey.

"The quality and standard of the rebel VFLW competition continues to elevate each year – all clubs, players and coaches are ready for a big year of women's second-tier football in Victoria after we fell one game short of awarding a premier in 2021."

"The 2022 fixture will allow great exposure for the next wave of talent and will provide fans across Victoria the opportunity to get close to the action with clubs and players maintaining a great connection to their communities.

"The alignment with the AFL Women's and NAB League Girls fixtures will see the best girls across Victoria play competitive football matches every weekend."

Oakleigh Chargers players celebrate winning the 2021 NAB Girls League Grand Final. Picture: AFL Photos

The season will again be split into two phases for list management purposes, with VFLW standalone clubs allowed to sign 40 players and AFLW clubs permitted to have 30 non-AFLW listees during the AFLW home-and-away season.

All 12 teams will be allowed to add up to 15 AFLW players to their lists once the national competition's home-and-away fixture is complete.

Phase 1 will see matches, dates and starting times align with the AFLW schedule wherever possible, but each club will receive seven home matches as they welcome fans back to the footy.

The salary cap remains at $40,000 for standalone clubs and $30,000 for AFLW-aligned teams, with concessions of up to $10,000 allowed to help players with travelling and relocation.

Twitter: @BRhodesVFL


Phase 1: AFLW home and away season. Phase 2: AFLW finals and post-season.
All age requirements are as at January 1, 2022.

VFLW standalone clubs:
Darebin, Essendon, Hawthorn, Williamstown.
AFLW-aligned clubs: Casey Demons, Port Melbourne, Southern Saints.
AFLW clubs: Carlton, Collingwood, Geelong, North Melbourne, Western Bulldogs.


  • $40,000 for VFLW standalones and $30,000 for AFLW-aligned clubs. This applies to the home-and-away season, with match payments for finals paid outside the cap.
  • Total base payments limited to a maximum of 50 per cent of the cap, including all guaranteed payments.
  • AFLW-listed players at AFLW clubs are not eligible for base payments but can receive match payments; VFLW standalones and AFLW-aligned clubs can give base payments to AFLW-listed players under the 50 per cent maximum rule.
  • Concessions of $10,000 outside the cap allowed for travelling and relocations.
  • Any form of club employment is subject to approval by the AFL. A position description and proposed salary must be submitted before contracting the player.


  • Primary lists consist of all open-age players available on the open market
  • Development lists are made up of two categories:
  • Category A: NAB League players who are still engaged in the talent pathway program, aged under 22.
  • Category B: Indigenous players, Next Generation Academy graduates, alternative sport athletes or of any age as long they have not made their VFLW debut.
  • VFLW standalone clubs can sign any player under 22 to their development list (no NAB League or Academy requirement).
  • In Phase 1, VFLW standalone clubs can have 40 listed players (30 primary and 10 development with a minimum of two Category B); AFLW and aligned clubs have 30 listed players (20, 10 and two). AFLW-listed players are not permitted on these lists.
  • In Phase 2, all clubs can add a maximum of 15 AFLW-listed players (55 VFLW, 45 AFLW).
  • Clubs can only make a maximum of 16 changes to their list from the previous season (6 primary, 10 development).
  • VFLW clubs can continue to make changes to their lists throughout the season until the agreed cut-off date.
  • No more than one player can transfer from one VFLW standalone club to another without paying a transfer fee of a maximum of $2500, although none will apply if she played less than 25 per cent of her former club’s matches in the previous season. Transfer fees only apply for players leaving VFLW standalone clubs.
  • All talent pathway competitions and programs (NAB League, National Championships, National Academy) take precedence over VFLW, including training and matches, although a player may forego her 19th year in the NAB League to take up a list spot in the VFLW.
  • Under-17s cannot play VFLW.


  • All clubs to field 21 players per match, comprising the following:
  • VFLW standalone: A minimum of three under-22 players (21 or younger on January 1). Top-ups can be sourced from NAB League, with under-18s restricted to a maximum of five VFLW home-and-away matches.
  • AFLW and AFLW-aligned: A minimum of five under-22 players under the same rules above.
  • AFLW-listed players are included in the mandatory requirement of selecting either five (AFL and AFLW-aligned) or three (VFLW standalone) under-22 players in a team.
  • In Phase 1, any AFLW players not selected can play VFLW.
  • In Phase 2, AFLW players are free to sign with whichever VFLW club they choose, with a maximum of 10 AFLW-listed players (anyone who has played one AFLW match that season) able to play in any one team.
  • VFLW-listed players must play at least one home-and-away match to qualify for finals, but AFLW-listed players must play three.

VFLW CLUB ALIGNMENTS (one metro, one country)

  • Carlton: Northern Knights, Bendigo Pioneers
  • Casey Demons: Dandenong Stingrays, Gippsland Power
  • Collingwood: Oakleigh Chargers, Murray Bushrangers
  • Essendon: Calder Cannons, Bendigo Pioneers
  • Geelong: Geelong Falcons, GWV Rebels
  • Hawthorn: Eastern Ranges, Gippsland Power
  • North Melbourne: Western Jets, Tasmania Devils
  • Port Melbourne: Oakleigh Chargers, Murray Bushrangers
  • Sandringham: Sandringham Dragons, Dandenong Stingrays
  • Western Bulldogs: Western Jets, GWV Rebels


  • VFLW standalone clubs are not subject to regional alignments and can list players on their primary or development lists from the open market.