Expansion D-Day: Which new clubs will come in?

D-DAY is fast approaching for the four clubs who have applied for AFLW licences.

The AFL Commission will discuss the decision at its meeting on Thursday as to when Essendon, Hawthorn, Port Adelaide and Sydney will join the NAB AFLW competition.

If the Commission decides to bring in all four clubs in one hit, we will see a full 18-team competition in the 2022-23 season.

The AFL has committed to including all four new additions by the 2023-24 season, keeping the door ajar for a staggered entry of two per year.

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The four clubs submitted an application by Friday, July 9, completing the presentation component the following week.

Aspects clubs had to cover in their presentations included list build plans, facilities, integration of the women's program in the club, commercial support and talent pathways.

Alana Barba celebrates a goal for Essendon in the VFLW preliminary final against Geelong on July 31, 2021. Picture: AFL Photos

If club lists stay at 30, it will mean 540 women will be on a club list (currently 420).

Rival clubs have long been keen for Port Adelaide to join and balance out the strength of Adelaide somewhat, given the competition is running with a state-based drafting system.

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Essendon's VFLW team has made steady gains over the past few years, making a preliminary final this year, while Hawthorn's VFLW team won the flag in 2018 before finishing ninth of 12 this year.

Both the Power and the Swans have junior talent academies.


2017 – An eight-team competition commenced, consisting of Adelaide, Brisbane, Carlton, Collingwood, Fremantle, GWS, Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs

2019 – Geelong and North Melbourne joined the competition

2020 – Gold Coast, Richmond, St Kilda and West Coast were added

2022/23 season – the possibility of any or all of Essendon, Hawthorn, Port Adelaide and Sydney entering

2023/24 season – the latest that all 18 clubs will have AFLW teams