LISTEN: 'Clubs ... don't feel whole without having the women's option'

THE AFL is continuing to remain in contact with the four clubs who do not yet have AFLW teams.

Essendon CEO Xavier Campbell last week said the club wanted a side in the competition by 2022 or 2023 by the latest, while Hawthorn president Jeff Kennett has continually publicly campaigned for entry into the competition.

AFL head of women's footy Nicole Livingstone told the Credit to the Girls podcast Port Adelaide and Sydney are also often in touch, eager to field their own sides in the burgeoning competition.

"I've spoke to the Swans this week just in terms of them starting to think about … with a good youth girls' academy, if [they] are coming into the competition in years coming forward, what does that look like now [they've] got our training facility that's being built," Livingstone said.

"Clubs are telling us they don't feel fulfilled and they don't feel whole without having the women's option. We need to make sure that what is being offered to our female players at clubs is appropriate and is giving them the best opportunity to thrive, which is part of that CBA-approved review we're doing with the players' association.

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"That will take place between now and the end of the 2021 season.

"We're open to having more clubs, but we also need to make sure it's right for the competition and it's the right timing for talent and the engagement of the competition as well."

The Bombers said they had written directly to AFL football operations manager Steve Hocking, and Livingstone revealed it's not the only letter the AFL has received.

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"Justin (Reeves, Hawthorn CEO) writes to me often as well, I get a paper letter in the mail about twice a year. We meet with them as well, we haven't shied away from visiting those clubs, we haven't done it this year (as yet), obviously we're focusing on the current season. 

"It's important to keep having those conversations and it's more about them setting up well. Obviously, Essendon and Hawthorn have a VFLW team, which has allowed them to set up that elite or sub-elite pathway. But until the Commission makes a decision on it, it's not for me to say, 'this is when you're coming in'."

AFLW TEAM OF THE WEEK Round five

In this episode… 

AFL head of women's football Nicole Livingstone joins the podcast to talk about the season so far, injury prevention, potential rule changes and list sizes. Sarah and Lucy also look ahead to round six, taking a deep dive on Richmond's woes this year.

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AFLW experts Jason Bennett and Sarah Black delve into the statements made at the top end of the ladder

Episode guide

0:35 – AFL head of women's football Nicole Livingstone joins the show

8:50 – Future expansion of the competition

11:40 – The women's cricket T20 World Cup final

13:00 – Quick hands with Nicole Livingstone

16:53 – Quick, bad, ugly and unique from round five

21:18 – Round six preview

24:37 – The winless Tigers v fellow expansion side St Kilda

37:29 – On the socials: housemate love and a homeground hero