The voting dynamics have changed since the earlier poll, with the addition of around 100 new players taken at last week’s AFLW draft.
While players have broadly been keen for the league to expand to 13 rounds, the AFL was unwilling to budge on its earlier offer of season lengths for the next three seasons: eight home-and-away rounds plus three weeks of finals in 2020, nine plus three in 2021 and 10 plus three for 2022.
Both the AFL and PA have indicated a desire to help grow AFLW steadily. The bodies have been working on a joint vision document for the future of the game.
It has also emerged that player representatives pushed hard for the league to investigate the difficulties faced by AFLW players in the pursuit of allowing a diverse playing cohort to thrive long-term.
A document sent to AFLW players by the PA last week outlined the plan for the review.
“The AFL will fund an independent review of AFLW, to be commissioned by the AFLPA and the players,” the PA said.
“The review will aim to identify and quantify the challenges faced by AFLW players and identify opportunities for improvement so that AFLW players, and AFLW itself, can thrive. The AFLPA will work with players to determine the scope and terms of reference of the review, which will be agreed with the AFL.”
Sources close to the discussions said the review had been largely driven by players. Just who will conduct the review remains to be seen. The labeling of the review has also been a private point of discussion with sources describing it unofficially as a “gender equity review”.
Other changes to the CBA offer include improved prizemoney, advanced notice of key dates, and a requirement that players receive their first payments no later than the 15th of the month in which pre-season starts.
Following the vote at the start of the month, the AFLPA held meetings with players from the four clubs – Geelong, Greater Western Sydney, St Kilda and Carlton – who had a majority of players vote against the deal.