AFLW 2022: Geelong coach Dan Lowther gives insight into the life of an AFLW player

Geelong coach Dan Lowther has provided an eye-opening insight into the taxing life of an AFLW player as the push for the league to go professional ramps up. Plus, Round 7 teams and tips.

Geelong AFLW players are not leaving the club until close to midnight as they try to cram as much rehab and education in as possible into the time they have at GMHBA Stadium while still working full-time jobs.

Cats coach Dan Lowther, who himself works full-time in the education sector while juggling the responsibilities of being a senior coach, said while finances would dictate when AFLW becomes professional, the players were crying out for more time to improve and grow the game.

SCROLL DOWN TO SEE OUR AFLW TIPS AND ALL THE ROUND 7 TEAMS

“The answer always comes down to finances and the availability of money to make that happen,” Lowther said.

“I know there has been a lot of talk in the media and the AFLPA around a time frame but my view is the players clearly want to be doing what they are doing in a football capacity as often they can, so full-time is clearly the endpoint, and that is why they are at the club from 4.00 all the way through until 11.00 at night because they want to leave no stone unturned to do what they need to do.

“Whether that be vision, conversations with coaches, extra touch, recovery or massages, all those types of things take time, so it has got to the point where players are saying, ‘give us the time, but we need to be financially backed from a professional perspective to be able to sustain that’.

“It is something that needs to be equitable in terms of their output and it needs to be something that is worth them giving up their day job for.”

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Geelong coach Dan Lowther with player Chloe Scheer.
Geelong coach Dan Lowther with player Chloe Scheer.
Dan Lowther says players committing full-time to football needs to be worthwhile.
Dan Lowther says players committing full-time to football needs to be worthwhile.

The constant changing of AFLW fixtures this season due to Covid cases at clubs has forced Lowther and other staff and players to rearrange their professional lives, which he said was only made possible thanks to having understanding employers.

But, Lowther admitted it had been a challenging time for part-time players, coaches and staff.

“The fact the sport is a part-time professional game has probably been the most challenging for staff to organise their lives around the time and commitment they give to AFLW,” he said.

“We have doctors, builders, and professionals like myself who rearrange schedules to make sure we can stick to a certain timetable and then all of a sudden the timetable is flipped and those changes can’t be undone.

“So on any given training day you might be down on staff numbers, down on coaches, down on players who with their work commitments can’t get there to a certain time.

“It sounds like everyone in the workforce has understanding employers but there is a commitment to doing your job so that part is hard, that constant flipping and reorganising people’s lives and work to try to fit in a game that wants professional applications given to it, but the time factor is a burden for everyone involved.”

FOUR YEARS TO GO PRO: AFLW’S VISION REVEALED

AFL Women’s players have earmarked 2026 as the season they want to become fully professional.

But the competition’s union has not ruled out reaching a full-time capacity earlier than its four-year target.

AFL Players’ Association boss Paul Marsh said creating a professional AFLW was a “strong ambition” but was one that had received overwhelming support from players during recent consultations.

The date is part of a player-driven vision model — with the AFLPA canvassing players on issues relating to the entire competition and their experiences.

AFLW players have called to be made professional by 2026. Picture: Getty Images
AFLW players have called to be made professional by 2026. Picture: Getty Images

Marsh strongly believes that nominating the 2026 season sets a realistic and achievable target.

“If you asked all the players individually, there would be different views as to how quickly we should get there, and there are players who think we should get there quicker and there are others who think it might be too challenging,” he told the Herald Sun.

“But by and large, that’s the time frame that we’re talking about. I say deliberately ‘by’ 2026 – that doesn’t put a limit on it getting there pre-then.

“We think with the expansion, new teams, new players and giving the clubs and the industry time to get itself geared up, we think it’s a realistic and reasonable time frame.”

The AFLPA continues to work with players on the overall vision for the competition, which is hoped will be finalised in coming months.

AFLW players are currently contracted for 23.5 weeks per year, and a total of 338.5 hours across the pre-season and season proper.

But many are putting in far longer hours at clubs and training, with many also juggling full-time jobs and study along with their elite football career.

The collective bargaining agreement between the league and players is set to expire on October 31, coinciding with the expiry of the current broadcast deal and men’s CBA.

AFLPA boss Paul Marsh. Picture: James Ross
AFLPA boss Paul Marsh. Picture: James Ross

Pursuing a joint CBA between the two competitions has received support from some players and has not been ruled out, but it is not considered critical to implementing the players’ vision for the game.

Under the current deal, Tier 1 players this season earn $37,155, while Tier 4 players take home $20,239.

The top two paid players at each club are excluded from any calculations for additional services agreements, meaning some players could earn well over $100,000 without it being included in a club’s figures.

The league launched its vision road map for the competition in late 2021.

It said that it aimed for AFLW players “to be the best paid sportswomen in a domestic competition in the country”, with other “aspirational targets” including equal participation and representation in community football by 2030, and at least 50 per cent of AFLW senior coaching positions held by women.

Western Bulldogs skipper Ellie Blackburn said this week that she enjoyed both working and playing football, but Marsh said choice for players was the ultimate outcome.

Ellie Blackburn also works in football. Picture: Getty Images
Ellie Blackburn also works in football. Picture: Getty Images

“From the player perspective, it’s having the option as to whether they work and play footy,” he said.

“That’s one thing we are trying to find as part of this solution – we don’t necessarily want to take work off players.

“We want them to have the choice. Because there are lots of players who will look at this and say ‘I want to do both’.

“It’s finding the right balance.

“There’s a number that will be attached to that at the right time, and that’s a product of hours and games and all the rest of it. But having the choice of whether you’re footy full-time or whether you’re work and footy is where we want to get to.”

The players’ target of 2026 is the result of an “extensive process” that has lasted over 12 months.

“We’ve got strong ambitions here to get to this point as quickly as we can,” Marsh said.

“And it will be good for the industry if we can get to this point.

“It’s something that we’re passionate about and determined to get to.”

AFLW TEAMS, TIPS: Pies, North face season-defining clash

North Melbourne and Collingwood will be intent on staking their premiership claims when they meet in a crucial AFLW clash this round.

North sits fourth on the ladder, one win ahead of the sixth-placed Magpies and within striking distance of frontrunner Fremantle.

Gold Coast will be trying to keep in touch with the top-six when it opens the round against Brisbane Lions in the Q Clash, while West Coast will be hopeful its improved form continues against Richmond at the other end of the table.

Scroll down to see who our experts are tipping.

Brittany Bonnici escapes the clutches of North Melbourne’s Jasmine Garner.
Brittany Bonnici escapes the clutches of North Melbourne’s Jasmine Garner.

AFLW ROUND 7 TEAMS

Sunday, February 20

North Melbourne v Collingwood at North Hobart Oval, 3.10pm AEDT

NORTH MELBOURNE

B: D.Hardiman 31 S.Wright 17

HB: B.Brown 36 E.Kearney - C 9 A.Gilroy 8

C: K.Ashmore 10 J.Bruton 35 I.Eddey 3

HF: A.O’Loughlin 6 E.King 60 E.Gavalas 22

F: T.Randall 16 S.Abbatangelo 1

Foll: K.Rennie 26 J.Garner 25 A.Riddell 7

I/C: D.Bateman 11 D.Bannister 2 M.King 23 A.Smith 15 N.Bresnehan 12

Emerg: T.Craven 5 J.Duffin 27

In: D.Hardiman, K.Ashmore

Out: J.Ferguson (HS Protocol), J.Duffin (Omitted)

COLLINGWOOD

B: L.Butler 23 S.Livingstone 12

HB: A.Velardo 5 R.Schleicher 18 A.Porter 9

C: S.Rowe 7 J.Lambert 13 J.Allen 6

HF: S.Alexander 24 C.Molloy 2 E.Chaston 32

F: B.Smith 19 A.Sheridan 14

Foll: A.Downie 30 B.Bonnici - C 8 M.Cann 25

I/C: E.James 20 T.Brown 26 A.Newman 16 E.Fowler 15 S.Casey 22

Emerg: I.Barnett 4 E.O’Dea 50

In: T.Brown, A.Newman

Out: E.O’Dea (Omitted), I.Barnett (Omitted)

Saturday, February 19

Greater Western Sydney v Adelaide, Henson Park, 3.10pm

GIANTS

B: L.Graham 37 P.Randall 21

HB: B.Stack 15 A.Lister 14 T.Hetherington 9

C: E.Pease 33 A.Parker 3 K.Smith 4

HF: R.Privitelli 19 C.Staunton 13 T.Mackrill 32

F: L.Stephenson 12 K.Loynes 7

Foll: A.Morphett 22 A.Eva C 2 L.Steane 20

I/C: E.Lorenzini 25 G.Garnett 17 A.Dallaway 30 H.Zreika 24 N.Barr 8

Emerg: J.Grierson 10 J.Doyle 5

In: T.Mackrill, L.Steane, E.Lorenzini, G.Garnett

Out: J.Grierson (omitted), E.McKinnon (concussion), C.Dalton (calf), J.Doyle (rested)

CROWS

B: M.Newman 17 M.Rajcic 32

HB: E.Jones 2 S.Allan C 39 N.Allen 8

C: R.Martin 5 A.Hatchard 33 S.Thompson 14

HF: D.Ponter 15 A.Woodland 24 J.Mules 23

F: E.Phillips 13 B.Tonon 28

Foll: C.Gould 1 E.Marinoff 10 T.Charlton 25

I/C: H.Button 6 C.Biddell 12 M.McKinnon 21 H.Munyard 20 L.Whiteley 22

Emerg: A.Considine 16 A.Ballard 27

In: B.Tonon

Out: A.Considine (omitted)

Carlton v St Kilda, Ikon Park, 5.10pm

BLUES

B: V.Laloifi 8 G.Pound 6

HB: J.Dal Pos 2 P.Trudgeon 26 D.Walker 23

C: M.Hill 10 G.Egan 1 K.Harrington C 9

HF: D.Vescio 3 L.McEvoy 13 C.Jones 22

F: N.Stevens 21 M.Guerin 18

Foll: B.Moody 16 M.Prespakis 4 A.McKay 5

I/C: G.Gee 19 E.O’Dea 46 N.Plane 32 K.Sherar 25 J.Good 15

Emerg: L.Brazzale 12 C.Wilson 20

In: C.Jones, M.Guerin, K.Sherar

Out: C.Wilson (omitted), L.Brazzale (omitted), B.Walker (omitted)

SAINTS

B: T.Lucas-Rodd 18 R.Ott 20

HB: B.Jakobsson 8 J.Van Dyk 36 H.Priest C 14

C: M.McDonald 1 N.Exon 15 C.Phillips 35

HF: D.Guttridge 5 K.Shierlaw 12 A.Burke 3

F: E.Friend 16 C.Greiser 17

Foll: L.Burke 30 J.Matin 19 N.Xenos 27

I/C: K.McCarthy 9 R.Watt 7 R.Saulitis 13 J.Vogt 10 I.Shannon 11

Emerg: A.Richards 22 T.Meyer 34

In: N.Exon, L.Burke, K.McCarthy, J.Vogt

Out: T.Meyer (omitted), T.White (suspension), L.Cutting (injured), A.Richards (rested)

West Coast v Richmond, Mineral Resources Park, 4.10pm AWST

EAGLES

B: M.Collier 8 E.Gooch 31

HB: C.Thomas 3 A.Hill 16 C.Guard 4

C: S.Lakay 23 E.Swanson C 13 M.Bowen 1

HF: A.Schmidt 7 K.Gibson 2 I.Cameron 19

F: A.Gilmore 22 H.Bullas 24

Foll: P.Laurie 25 I.Lewis 6 D.Hooker 17

I/C: C.Rowley 5 S.Davison 28 B.Smith 14 E.Bennett 27 N.Kelly 12

Emerg: A.Atkins 9 M.Caulfield 10

In: A.Gilmore, E.Bennett

Out: A.Atkins (omitted), G.Kelly (rested)

TIGERS

B: S.D’Arcy 12 R.Miller 15

HB: B.Lynch 32 J.Hosking 11 M.Shevlin 35

C: T.Lavey 37 S.Hosking 7 K.Dempsey 19

HF: T.Stahl 24 M.Brancatisano 5 E.Yassir 27

F: E.McKenzie 22 G.Seymour 28

Foll: C.Bernardi 6 K.Brennan C 3 M.Conti 4

I/C: S.Sansonetti 18 P.Kelly 14 M.Macdonald 38 A.Makur Chuot 34 M.Kiely 31

Emerg: S.Molan 1 K.Jacques 10

In: C.Bernardi

Out: K.Jacques (omitted)

Friday, February 18

Western Bulldogs v Geelong, Whitten Oval, 7.10pm

WESTERN BULLDOGS

B: Ferres, Lynch

HB: Grant, Brown, Gamble

C: Pritchard, Blackburn, Snell

HF: Bennetts, Toogood, Cranston

F: Morris-Dalton, Hartwig

Foll: Moody, Fitzgerald, Lamb

Inter: Guest, Hunt, Edmonds, Gutknecht, Georgostathis

In: Gamble, Bennetts

Out: - Lochland (Illness), Smith (Illness)

GEELONG

B: McMahon, Keryk

HB: Emonson, McDonald, Rankin

C: Morrison, Prespakis, Van De Heuvel

HF: Moloney, McWilliams, Kearns

F: Scheer, Barber

Foll: Caris, Webster, McDonald

Inter: Friswell, Featherston, Crockett-Grills, Darby, Ivey

In: Moloney, Barber

Out: Maguire (Omitted), Gardiner (Omitted)

AFLW ROUND 7 TIPS

Chris Cavanagh 38

Brisbane Lions 1

Western Bulldogs 12

Adelaide 12

Carlton 6

Richmond 6

North Melbourne 6

Brisbane Lions 1

Gold Coast 1

Last Week 6

Liz Walsh 34

Brisbane Lions 12

Western Bulldogs 14

Adelaide 18

Carlton 10

West Coast 8

North Melbourne 16

Melbourne 8

Gold Coast 1

Last Week 6

Sarah Jones 33

Gold Coast 3

Western Bulldogs 9

Adelaide 20

Carlton 3

Richmond 11

North Melbourne 14

Melbourne 20

Gold Coast 14

Last Week 6

Ebony Marinoff 33

Gold Coast

Western Bulldogs

Adelaide

Carlton

Richmond

North Melbourne

Melbourne

Western Bulldogs

Last Week 5

Matt Turner 33

Brisbane Lions 23

Western Bulldogs 21

Adelaide 19

Carlton 18

Richmond 20

North Melbourne 14

Melbourne 24

Western Bulldogs 18

Last Week 6

Ellie Blackburn 32

Brisbane Lions

Western Bulldogs

Adelaide

Carlton

West Coast

North Melbourne

Melbourne

Western Bulldogs

Last Week 7

Kath Loughnan 32

Brisbane Lions 6

Western Bulldogs 10

Adelaide 20

Carlton 5

West Coast 14

North Melbourne 3

Melbourne 6

Gold Coast 8

Last Week 5

Glenn McFarlane 32

Brisbane Lions 17

Western Bulldogs 9

Adelaide 15

Carlton 1

Richmond 6

North Melbourne 3

Melbourne 1

Gold Coast 2

Last Week 6

Chloe Molloy 32

Brisbane Lions

Western Bulldogs

Adelaide

Carlton

Richmond

Collingwood

Melbourne

Western Bulldogs

Last Week 5

Mark Robinson 32

Brisbane Lions 5

Western Bulldogs26

Adelaide 13

Carlton 3

Richmond 12

North Melbourne 21

Melbourne 18

Western Bulldogs 12

Last Week 5

Rebecca Williams 32

Brisbane Lions 17

Western Bulldogs 12

Adelaide 14

Carlton 9

Richmond 13

North Melbourne 11

Melbourne 10

Western Bulldogs 6

Last Week 6

Chloe Dalton 30

Brisbane Lions

Western Bulldogs

GWS Giants

St Kilda

Richmond

North Melbourne

Melbourne

Gold Coast

Last Week 5

Lauren Wood 30

Brisbane Lions 11

Western Bulldogs 9

Adelaide 14

Carlton 16

West Coast 11

North Melbourne 17

Brisbane Lions 6

Western Bulldogs 12

Last Week 5

Kate McCarthy 25

Brisbane Lions

Western Bulldogs

Adelaide

St Kilda

Richmond

North Melbourne

Melbourne

Western Bulldogs

Last Week 5

Kiss of Death 6

Gold Coast 13

Geelong 13

GWS Giants 13

St Kilda 13

West Coast 13

Collingwood 13

Brisbane Lions 13

Gold Coast 13

Last Week 1

Originally published as AFLW 2022: Geelong coach Dan Lowther gives insight into the life of an AFLW player