How many players can each club lose? Expansion rules explained

WITH the expansion signing period officially open, the existing fourteen AFLW clubs have been bracing themselves to lose players to new sides Essendon, Hawthorn, Port Adelaide and Sydney as each build inaugural lists. 

But what are the rules clubs face when it comes to losing players through expansion? 

Each player in the competition has been assigned a points value which is calculated based on age, payment tier, career games and any awards they might have won. 

Madison Prespakis poses for a photo after being crowned the 2020 AFLW Best and Fairest winner. Picture: AFL Photo

To keep their first round draft pick for the upcoming NAB AFLW Draft, existing clubs must lose a total of 28 points worth of players.

PLAYER MOVEMENT Who's going? Who's staying? All the latest news

Should clubs not reach that threshold, they will go to the draft without a first round selection. 

Clubs can lose a variable number of players in line with this points system, based on recent successes and location. 

Erin Phillips after signing with Port Adelaide in April, 2022. Picture: Getty Images

For example, a club can reach that 28-point threshold by only losing a couple of highly rated players, while another might lose several players who each attract a lower points valuation.

Each of the top seven teams from the past two seasons combined may lose (via expansion) a maximum of:

  • Four players if in Victoria, Queensland or Western Australia 
  • Eight players if in New South Wales or South Australia 

Each of the bottom seven teams from the past two seasons combined may lose (via expansion) a maximum of: 

  • Three players if in Victoria, Queensland or Western Australia 
  • Six players if in New South Wales or South Australia 
Fremantle's Gemma Houghton celebrates a win during round 12, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

Based on cumulative ladder position across seasons five and six womens.afl understands the top seven teams to be Adelaide, Melbourne, Brisbane, Fremantle, Collingwood, North Melbourne and Western Bulldogs, and the bottom seven teams to be Carlton, GWS, Richmond, St Kilda, Gold Coast, Geelong and West Coast.

A number of players have already committed to expansion clubs including Sarah Perkins, Bonnie Toogood, Madison Prespakis and Rebecca Privitelli. 

The expansion signing period officially opened at 9am on Tuesday and will continue until Monday, with the Trade and Sign period to open on Tuesday, May 31.