AFL strikes $2.2 billion pay deal with players

A mid-season trade period could be introduced as early as next season, with the AFL to thrash out the finer details with its clubs and the players' union after sealing a $2.2 billion pay deal.

The first joint collective bargaining agreement covering both AFL and AFLW players is a five-year deal that includes longer contracts for first-round draftees and massive wage rises for women footballers.

The average wage of AFLW players will rise to $82,000 by the end of 2027, up from the current $46,000, while their season will be expanded.

By the end of the agreement in 2027, the average AFL men's salary will be $519,000 up from $387,000 last year.

Men's draftees selected inside the top 20 will now sign a three-year contract, up from two seasons.

The CBA also forecasts more five-day breaks between men's games to provide fixturing flexibility and more Thursday night games.

The AFL plan to continue discussions about the mid-season trade period after ticking off the concept with the AFL Players Association.

"In principle, we're there," incoming AFL CEO Andrew Dillon said.

"We now want to work with the Players Association and the clubs on how it might work but yeah a chance that we could have it next year, but we'll do that work over the next few months.

"It could be open or we might want to put parameters around it.

"That's the detail that we'll work through with the clubs and also the Players Association, just to make sure that there's not any unintended consequences.

"Because it'll be great, it'll provide opportunities, but we just want to make sure we think through all the permutations and combinations that could occur."

Geelong captain and AFLPA president Patrick Dangerfield welcomed the change-up.

"There's still detail to work out around it, but I think it's something that the game could benefit from," Dangerfield said.

"There's players that could certainly benefit from it and depending on the situation that each team is in I think there's benefits for both teams that lose players and teams that gain players.

"Like anything, how it may initially start is not how it may finish or continue to operate in years to come."

After months of haggling, the CBA was hailed by both parties as a win for the sport.

Increasing the contract length of early draftees should help clubs keep hold of their top talent selected from interstate.

The pay on offer in the third year of the contract would be performance-based.

"Someone like Nick (Daicos) who's obviously had an incredible first couple of years in the system, his payment will scale up based on his performance, the games played, the awards won, all that sort of stuff," AFLPA chief executive Paul Marsh said.

"So that's quite an important part of this. It's not restraining them to a base level, it's rewarding performance."

The AFLW season will expand to 12 regular-season rounds by 2025 and potentially 14 during the deal.

The latter depends on achievement of key audience metrics (average attendance of 6,000 fans, average broadcast viewers of 100,000).

AFLW players will have 12-month contracts implemented and be able to sign multi-year contracts, while a new 12-month pregnancy policy will be introduced.

The AFL past players' injury and hardship fund will receive $60 million until the end of the agreement compared to $20m in the last deal.