The HUGE trade twist set to reshape AFLW pecking order

THE AFLW's four expansion clubs have been given unprecedented powers to poach star players from rival teams, with grand finalists Melbourne and Brisbane among those most vulnerable to a raid on their top talent.

The details for the 2023 Sign and Trade Period - which will run from March 10-20 - have been confirmed, with last year's four expansion clubs to be given a window to sign "priority signing period" players beforehand.

The Trade Period was shaping up to be relatively lacklustre, but the new priority signing period (PSP) has the potential to blow it wide open.

Tayla Harris and Tahlia Hickie contest the ruck in the opening ball-up of the 2022 NAB AFLW Season Seven Grand Final. Picture: AFL Photos

A player qualifies as a PSP signing if they have played three or more AFLW seasons and crucially, a trade does not need to be completed for the player to move clubs.

The AFLW's list committee will determine any relevant compensation, which could include draft picks ahead of AFLW Season Nine in 2024.

Reigning premier Melbourne, perennial finalist Brisbane and three-time premiership powerhouse Adelaide look the most likely to be targeted by expansion clubs, with season seven's preliminary finalists able to lose up to five players.

This implementation of the PSP is likely to pave the way for Collingwood star Chloe Molloy to theoretically walk to Sydney, who have been quietly confident of landing the former NAB AFLW Rising Star winner.

Chloe Molloy and Jordan Membrey celebrate a goal during round seven, season seven, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

It was expected to be a stagnant trade period due to the upcoming mature-age draft (after eligible 18-year-olds were selected last year ahead of the one-off second season), with limited elite talent on offer.

Clubs were reluctant to trade star players for draft picks as a consequence, with concerns about the depth of talent available in the draft.

The expansion clubs who have access to the PSP period (1-8 March) are Essendon, Hawthorn, Port Adelaide and Sydney, who all entered the competition last season.

Given the variety of finishing positions and list strengths of the four clubs, the following restrictions have been put in place.


  • Can sign up to two players during PSP
  • Can offer a "secondary relocation reimbursement/payment" to those players


  • Can sign up to three players during PSP
  • Can offer a "secondary relocation reimbursement/payment" to those players 

Port Adelaide

  • Granted an additional two list spots for season eight
  • Can sign up to three players during PSP
  • Can offer a "secondary relocation reimbursement/payment" to those players
  • Can sign one underage player during PSP
  • That underage player is eligible to play during the season


  • Granted an additional three list spots for season eight, reducing to two for season nine and none for season 10
  • Can sign up to five players during PSP
  • Can offer a "secondary relocation reimbursement/payment" to those players
  • Can offer longer-term contracts with an additional two seasons more than that which is allowed in season eight, for two players only
  • Can offer longer-term contracts with an additional one season more than allowed in season eight, for three players only
Sydney players look dejected after their S7 round three loss to Greater Western Sydney at the SCG. Picture: AFL Photos

The 14 remaining clubs have limits on the number of players they can lose via PSP:

  • Clubs that finished 1-4 post-finals (Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide, North Melbourne): no more than five players
  • Clubs that finished 5th-8th post-finals (Collingwood, Richmond, Western Bulldogs, Geelong): no more than two players
  • Clubs that finished 9th-18th (Gold Coast, GWS, Fremantle, St Kilda, Carlton, West Coast); no more than one player

The AFL has confirmed clubs will not have to make a minimum of three changes to their list as has been the case in the past, meaning theoretically some clubs will not participate in the coming draft.

As previously flagged by, the AFL and AFLPA have agreed to a Heads of Agreement to allow the trade period to go ahead, in lieu of a finalised Collective Bargaining Agreement (currently being worked on).

As it stands, player payment will not change from the previously signed CBA, and any potential changes upon completion of the upcoming CBA will be applied retrospectively.

  • Tier One: $71,935
  • Tier Two: $55,559
  • Tier Three: $47,372
  • Tier Four: $39,184