The AFL has announced the 2022 rebel VFLW season is set to begin on Saturday February 12, 2022, which will see state league women’s footy return to Victoria to align with the 2022 NAB AFL Women’s season.
The start of the season will see a full talent pathway program for elite women in Victoria with the NAB League Girls, VFLW and AFLW competitions being played at the same time.
Entering its sixth season, the rebel VFLW competition has been the pathway for elite women in Victoria - 15 of the VFLW's finest were snapped up in the 2021 NAB AFLW Draft.
Essendon and Hawthorn have joined Port Melbourne under the AFLW-aligned club classification due to their pending entry into the 2023 AFLW competition, leaving Darebin and Williamstown as the only two remaining VFLW standalone teams.
The AFL is pleased to confirm the VFLW alignments with NAB League Girls creating a direct pathway for NAB League Girls players as well as providing them with opportunities to play in the VFLW competition once their season has finished. 
AFL State League Competitions Manager Jennie Loughnan said it was exciting to provide clubs with an update ahead of the 2022 rebel VFLW Season with women to take centre stage in Victoria to kick-off the 2022 football season.
“The rebel VFLW Competition has been a foundation league in Victoria for many years and an exciting pathway for young girls. We are delighted with the growth in the women’s game and to see the emerging talent across all levels is very exciting for football. The VFLW has an exciting season ahead as more girls continue to progress their football journey,” Ms Loughnan said.
“The quality and standard of the rebel VFLW Competition continues to elevate each year. All clubs, players and coaches are ready for a big year of women’s second-tier football in Victoria after we fell one game short of awarding a Premier in 2021.”  
“The 2022 fixture will allow great exposure for the next wave of talent and will provide fans across Victoria the opportunity to get close to the action with clubs and players maintaining a great connection to their communities. The alignment with the AFL Women’s and NAB League Girls fixtures will see the best girls across Victoria play competitive football matches every weekend,” Ms Loughnan said.
Standalone VFLW Clubs: Darebin, Williamstown
Standalone AFLW Clubs: Carlton, Collingwood, Geelong, North Melbourne, Western Bulldogs
Aligned Clubs: Port Melbourne, Essendon, Hawthorn, Casey, Southern Saints
The VFLW’s 12 teams will again play 14 home-and-away matches with the fixture likely to be released shortly.
The season will again be split into two phases for list management purposes, with VFLW standalone clubs allowed to sign 40 players and AFLW clubs permitted to have 30 non-AFLW listees during the AFLW home-and-away season.
All 12 teams will be allowed to add up to 15 AFLW players to their lists once that competition’s home-and-away fixture is complete.
While clubs will still select 21 players for a match, AFLW-aligned teams must now only select five under-22 development players each week (down from six), while the standalone requirement remains at three.
Indigenous players who have yet to make their VFL debuts can now also be signed as Category B development players alongside NAB Leaguers and Next Generation Academy members.
The AFL will continue to review all arrangements including return-to-play protocols and the return of fans to matches in consultation with clubs, the various State Governments and respective Health Officers to ensure the health and safety of everyone involved in this competition remains the priority.
The AFL would like to acknowledge the support of all industry stakeholders, commercial partners and the legion of fans and supporters and we cant wait to see you at the footy in 2022.