Players' perspectives: Do AFLW suspensions and fines fit the crimes?

Isadora McLeay and Imogen Evans are AFLW players currently taking part in an internship at Disney and ESPN, where they are given the opportunity to gain real-life work experience while having the flexibility to pursue their footballing goals and aspirations.

This week, the girls look at the whether the punishments fit the crimes after four players were suspended and two players fined in an abbreviated, 10-game season.

Imogen Evans, Collingwood

In Round 3 of the AFLW six players' actions were taken to the Match Review. Two walked away with a financial sanction. Three received one-match bans, and one was suspended for two games, which is equivalent to 1/5th of the season.

At the end of the day, players need to be protected when they step onto the field. Which is why I think the current match review and subsequent consequences are valid, but not fair.

As someone who last year was cited for a tackle, it's a difficult argument to make, but it's hard to justify how the same football action can cost an AFLW athlete 1/5th of their season and an AFL player 1/12th.

This is an issue the AFL must think deeper about, and the only viable option is to extend the AFLW season. You can't not punish players who break the safety protocols, because that would obviously lead to more harm than good.

Extending the season (among an array of other positives) will benefit the women's game significantly, bridging the equity gap between the AFL and AFLW.

The actual categorical process for determining the significance of a tackle or football action these days has raised concerns. I understand my opinion is contradictory, but the safety of the players is paramount, however, as a player it selfishly can feel like the aggression, intensity and drama of the game is slowly seeping away because of the continuous introduction of rules and subsequent sanctions.

It's a thinning line and I'm not sure how to make it clearer.

Isadora McLeay, GWS

This week we saw the AFLW put their foot down on some tackles that had taken place over the weekend.

It is vital for the AFL to crackdown to protect the players and their futures, as concussion has always been a big talking point among contact sport, even more so recently. It is sometimes easy to forget, when you're in the thick of it, that there is a life after football.

As seen throughout the AFL men's season there were multiple suspensions, and we see the AFLW follow through with similar rulings.

In setting the bar the AFL has gone with a tough approach, but there still feels as if there is a clear disparity in penalty for an AFLW player and an AFL men's player.

With AFLW being a 'part-time' program the value for suspension or fine carries such weight.

Losing a game in 24-week home and away season doesn't seem like such a big deal, but for AFLW players in a short 10-game season, it can derail their spot in the team.

Clubs being able to appeal the suspension is also another issue, as the cost to appeal can add too much to the women's programs soft cap, causing clubs to make tough calls, even when appealing is the correct decision.

Also fining all players the same amount across the league on the same action is an interesting take, as a lot of these players are on different contracts and a player being fined on the lowest tier may cause financial stress, compared to a peer on the highest tier.

I am not saying players shouldn't be reprimanded for their actions but there needs to be a fairer system in place for these players, and seemingly its always coming back to the issue of the lack of games.