The future is looking bright for the AFLW and no further proof beyond the $5,000 pay increase the players stand to collect in the third season is needed.
Total player payments for 2019 have surged to $4.75 million under the new CBA for the women’s game.
Players will be categorised in a system of four tiers.
Tier one players, two from each club, will be paid $24,600 in 2019, compared to the $20,000 they received in 2018.
The next six players will be classified as Tier two and will see their earnings rise from $14,500 in 2018 to $19,000 in 2019.
Tier three includes the next six below the prior tier. Those players are getting a $5,700 pay boost, from $10,500 to $16,200.
Tier four players progress from $8,500 to $13,400.
No one is suggesting that players will be living the life of Riley, or Riley’s wife, but a struggling league would be attempting to reduce salaries or risk going under altogether.
The new Collective Bargaining Agreement will include finalists with a shared jackpot of $127,500. Each player from the Grand Final winning side will get a $2,000 bonus, with the runners up receiving $1,250 each.
The clubs that make the preliminary finals will reward each player with $500, so the obvious incentives should move the AFLW forward and incentives such as those on offer should prove highly motivating.
Players who want to add a bit extra to the bank are eligible to perform as game ambassadors and receive part of the $100,000 pool created to fund those roles.
The lion’s share of the new funding is directed toward player education, wellbeing and support. That goal will be funded with $335,000, part of which will be directed at efforts to grow the AFLW.
AFLPA chief executive Paul Marsh spoke of the new CBA in glowing terms, but he did not fail to mention that many of the players would still find it necessary to work other jobs, education pursuits or family obligations.
Gender pay equality is still a distant objective, but it seems like only 2017, well it was 2017, when we were expressing cautious optimism that the women’s AFL could secure a future.