However, much like AFLW players are part-time so too are the bulk of AFLW doctors and physios.
Some players have privately raised concerns about the challenges they can face when it comes to getting help from club medical staff, with a lack of access identified as an issue.
Clubs are themselves constrained by the AFLW soft cap of $450,000, with medical costs counting under the cap like other expenses.
Meanwhile, the West Australian AFLW teams – West Coast and Fremantle – are dealing with their own set of challenges largely associated with the tyranny of distance.
Unlike the men’s league, where the Eagles and the Dockers generally travel to games on the Eastern seaboard two nights in advance, the clubs’ respective female sides only travel one night early, limiting players’ ability to acclimatise. West Coast skipper Emma Swanson and Fremantle captain Kara Antonio both said on Tuesday that in an ideal world they too would head across the Nullarbor two nights out from a game.
AFLW chief Nicole Livingstone reiterated on Tuesday that the league’s long-term goal was for all 18 AFL clubs to field a team in the women’s competition, in which every side would play each other at least once.
High-profile Carlton forward Darcy Vescio was among the most vocal proponents for a longer AFLW season during the recent CBA talks.
She reflected on that period at a women’s sport breakfast at the MCG on Tuesday.
“It was pretty stressful and it’s hard because your views might not align with everyone else in the league even though you feel like it’s an important thing to stand up for. Ultimately I think all of us players were on the same page in terms of what we wanted but we all had different ideas about how we were supposed to get there,” Vescio said.
“We learned a lot in terms of the sort of people you need to be talking to and how to get your message across, without making other people feel like you’re pushing against them too much.
“It was a fine line but we knew we needed to stand up and say that we wouldn’t just accept the scraps, or accept whatever we were given. In the end I think we made some small gains that will mean a lot in the years to come.”
Vescio also said she was hopeful that within five years the competition would include all 18 teams and run alongside the men’s.
Daniel is an Age sports reporter