'They're ready to go': New AFLW clubs approve of August season start

THE AFLW's four newest clubs have approved an August start date as momentum builds towards moving the competition away from summer.

With the finals series to get under way this weekend for the current season, round one for the next campaign could be less than five months away.

Essendon, Hawthorn, Port Adelaide and Sydney will be included in the next edition, with all 18 AFL clubs to then be represented in the women's competition.

There were initial concerns about the expansion quartet not being prepared, having believed their inaugural campaigns would begin in December 2022 or January 2023.

Hawks coach Bec Goddard and Bridget Deed. Picture: hawthornfc.com.au

But AFL football operations manager Andrew Dillon is confident the AFLW's new additions will cope if the competition begins in August instead.

"We've spoken with each of those clubs and they're ready to go and they're keen to get going as soon as they can," Dillon said on Monday.

"We've got a conditional approval to look at an August start date but we've got a lot of work to do in the next couple of weeks.

"What we're hoping for with an August start date is it will give the AFLW the best chance to shine in a time frame that's good for playing football.

"We've gone through the competition committee where the theory of moving to August got 100 per cent (approval), we've gone to the AFL Commission and now's the chance to go through the AFLPA (players association)."

AFL general counsel Andrew Dillon at the 2019 NAB AFL Draft. Picture: AFL Photos

The plan to start the seventh season of the women's competition earlier has been met with mixed reactions from players and coaches.

North Melbourne coach Darren Crocker acknowledged how difficult it is for semi-professional athletes battling it out in searing summer heat.

He also raised the issue of players who suffered serious knee injuries this year potentially facing two entire seasons on the sidelines.

AFL boss Gillon McLachlan has forecast a full round of AFLW fixtures in Melbourne on the Friday public holiday before the men's grand final in September if the women's season is brought forward.

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