AFLW players will still receive less than the men despite the league pledging to double the prize money for the 2023 season.
The announcement was made on Monday by incoming AFL chief Andrew Dillon, less than two weeks until the first round of season eight.
The prize money will increase from $632,922 to $1.1 million to match the men’s competition but the purse will be split across the top eight teams, as opposed to a top-four split in the men’s league.
Despite the uneven split, AFLW chief Nicole Livingstone is confident the new season will be the best iteration given it comes off the back of the successful Women’s World Cup.
“With the passionate enthusiasm currently in Australia around women’s sport, we really do feel like there’s no better time than to burst onto the scene with AFLW,” she said on Monday.
“We’ve been here now for seven years and we really do think that this year is going to be our best season yet.
“The message is really clear, if you love women’s sport, get behind AFLW.
“Go to a match or watch a match (on television) and support our players and our clubs.”
The league’s 18 club skippers gathered at Marvel Stadium for the launch of the new season, with 14 of them telling an AFL poll they expect the Demons to go all the way again.
In 2022’s pre-season questionnaire, eight captains correctly predicted Melbourne would take out season seven.
The 2023 campaign signals something of a new era for the Demons, who have retained 28 players but will be without inaugural skipper Daisy Pearce as they bid for back-to-back titles.
Two-time All-Australian Kate Hore has enjoyed a promising start to her task of filling Pearce’s boots, leading the side to two dominant wins in pre-season.
“It’s not something that I thought that I would be doing in 10 or 15 years but to be here now – I’m just super pumped, very honoured and can’t wait to lead the girls out this season,” Hore said at the AFLW Captain’s Day.
“Obviously big shoes to fill with ‘Dais’ but I feel so well supported.
“It’s definitely not just going to be me or left up to me. Everyone’s got such great strengths to bring.
“We don’t really listen to the outside noise too much and we’ll just keep going about our business.”
AFLW’s eighth season begins on September 1 with a showdown between Melbourne and Collingwood at Ikon Park.
(Australian Associated Press)