New pay deal, contract, top tier, players, netball, salary, pay dispute, season start, 18 clubs

The next AFLW season will start during the last weekend of August, with the collective bargaining agreement officially agreed upon between players and the league.

Average player salaries will increase by 94 per cent across the board, going from $23,904 to $46,280. It’s part of a four-tier system in which the top tier will receive $71,935 – up from $37,115 this year.

Season seven of the competition will consist of 10 home and away games followed by four finals – one additional final compared to season six – with four new teams (Essendon, Hawthorn, Port Adelaide and Sydney Swans) joining the code.

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List sizes at each club will remain at 30, with the total number of players increasing from 420 to 540.

The season will begin during the AFL’s pre-finals bye this year, with pre-season commencing in mid-June.

New clubs’ signing period will start on May 24, while other clubs’ sign and trade period starts on May 31, with the draft on June 29.

The Grand Final is scheduled for the weekend of 25-27 November.

The pay deal brings AFLW into closer competition with Super Netball, where netballers earn an average salary of $74,000.

In that top tier netball competition, the highest paid athletes earn $91,500 while the minimum wage hit $43,000.

The pay deal is a massive boost for the AFLW competition, which will feature 18 clubs for the first time in history.

Stars Ebony Marinoff and Marijana Rajcic celebrate the 2022 premiership. Picture: Roy VanDerVegtSource: News Corp Australia

Already a host of players have shifted clubs for the upcoming season, with none bigger than Adelaide flag hero Erin Phillips crossing to expansion rival Port Adelaide.

The new pay deal is a massive increase on the funds available just three years ago in 2019.

Back then, tier one players were on just $13,400 for the season, while the top tier signatures were paid $24,600 for their efforts.

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