POSSIBLE expansion and the need to discuss potential priority picks means the AFLW Sign and Trade Period will start in mid-May at the earliest.
Clubs initially believed all the action would kick off at the end of April, but the AFL Commission will meet on May 12 to discuss the two issues.
Any recommendations the Commission makes needs to be discussed with the AFLPA before decisions are finalised, increasing the likelihood of a Trade Period in late May or June.
It's a mixed result for clubs, with some happy with the extra time afforded after a frantic end to the season, including the NAB AFLW Under-19 Championships in Grand Final week.
But it also creates uncertainty for players. Some have already been told of their delisting, and others have been given an opportunity to continue to press their case in the state leagues over the next month or so.
Existing AFLW clubs believe the likelihood of expansion for 2022 is not high, especially given the current CBA does not expire until the end of October next year.
Having been through the process themselves, they believe clubs – both current and incoming – need 12 months' notice to ready themselves and plan around expansion signing rules.
What is more likely is a decision being made by the Commission about introducing clubs for 2023, rather than 2022.
Port Adelaide is the logical first inclusion, given the strength of Adelaide and the promise shown by the South Australian team at this week's under-19 championships, but there are questions as to whether the current Victorian playing pool is deep enough to support Hawthorn and/or Essendon.
Sydney is the other club to not yet have an AFLW side, although it has steadily been building its junior academy program.
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