Cats fans can look forward to a second season of AFLW in 2022 after the AFL today confirmed the long-speculated August start date for Season 7 of AFLW.

The announcement has come following an historic Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) between the AFL and the AFLPA that sees the average player salary increase by 94 per cent to $46,280. The one-year bridging CBA will see player contracts run from May 15 – December 31.

Round one of Season 7 will be scheduled during the pre-finals bye weekend of the men’s competition, on the weekend of August 25-27.

The addition of four new teams to the AFLW competition will see the now-18-team league play a four-round finals format, while the home and away fixture will again consist of 10 rounds.

The Expansion Signing Period will begin on May 24, with the Sign and Trade Period to begin on May 31, while the NAB AFLW Draft will be held on June 29.

The CBA represents a significant step-change towards professionalism with players hoping to achieve full-time professionalism by 2026.

Cats Head of AFLW and Football Pathways Brett Johnson welcomed the announcement:

“We’re really pleased for the playing group. The excitement and enthusiasm for a second season in 2022 is shared by everyone in our AFLW Program and supported by our entire club.”

When asked how a second season in 2022 will land at Geelong, Johnson said that the Cats are uniquely primed to go again.

“No doubt a second season in one year poses challenges, but our appetite for another crack at it was palpable from the moment the siren sounded on Season 6.”

“We felt we made significant improvement this year off the back of several changes to our program leading into Season 6. To have the opportunity to consolidate those improvements and take the next step within the same year could not sit more positively in the course of our development.”

Johnson shared his joy for the players, paying credit to their ongoing commitment amid the uncertainty of recent months.

“It’s wonderful for our players to now have some certainty about their immediate future, but furthermore it’s exciting to think that we can all look forward to a future where our players are given the time and tools they need to be the athletes they aspire to be.”

“At club-land we see the hours and the effort they put in all year round. Their passion for the game is unrivalled, and they deserve the freedom and the support to pursue their ambitions.”

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Cats AFLW captain Meghan McDonald said today’s announcement had been met by an overwhelming mood of celebration amongst the playing group.

“We’re passionate about the progress of the league, and ecstatic at the prospect of playing more football this year,” McDonald said.

“Every day I’m seeing my teammates commit themselves in new and greater ways to their own development and to the improvement of our team. The opportunity to accelerate that immediately during pre-season and test it with a second season in 2022 is so exciting, and only further inspiration for us.”

The Cats’ pre-season training will begin on June 13.