AFLW coaches and players are calling for the medi-sub rule to be implemented with more than seven players sustaining season-ending injuries after just two rounds of football.

The medical substitution rule was introduced in the men’s game to enable teams to have a full line-up if a player was deemed medically unfit to continue to play.

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Unlike the men’s league where 18 are on the field with four on the bench, AFLW games are played with 16 on the field and five on the bench.

One game-day emergency is allowed for the women but the emergency is left out of the game if there are not required to sub in before the final on-field warm-up.

Hawthorn last weekend lost two leadership-group members Tamara Luke (knee) and Louise Stephenson (ankle), leaving the bench with only three players for the entirety of the match.

Louise Stephenson is helped from the field during the round two match between Hawthorn and St Kilda at Box Hill City Oval on September 4. Credit: Dylan Burns/AFL Photos via Getty Images

Melbourne key defender Libby Birch believes forcing players to run out a whole game without a full bench increases injury risk.

“The running intensity and overall load is condensed on fewer players,” Birch wrote in an opinion piece published on the AFLW website on Tuesday.

“In a condensed season of only 10 rounds, every match matters.”

Hawthorn coach Bec Goddard agreed with Birch, saying she can’t see why the AFLW didn’t have the rule to begin with.

“To have the ability to use one of those players to make sure we can run the game out … that would be a really useful thing going forward,” Goddard told reporters on Thursday.

Hawthorn coach Bec Goddard says the medi-sub rule should be introduced in AFLW. Credit: AAP

Goddard said there needs to be real action from the AFLW to protect players, especially when women are 4-6 times more likely to tear their ACL.

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“An ACL injury is much more significant than just a season of football,” said Goddard.

“It affects personal lives, their professional working lives.

“What we know now after six seasons, and now six ACL injuries in two rounds of football, is that there’s an issue.

“It would be remiss of me not to say that whatever we can do, we should be doing.”

GWS also experienced injury carnage with three players sidelined for the rest of the season.

The Giants have some good news though in the return of former No.1 draft pick Nicola Barr after an ongoing knee injury.

Barr said injuries were “unavoidable” in a contact sport but added the winter start will help to reduce risk of injury.

“Playing over summer, particularly in Western Sydney has been extremely hard in that heat,” said Barr.

“Now playing in cooler months will probably help us in terms of recovery.”

Round three is the AFLW’s Indigenous Round and it will also feature derbies between Brisbane and Gold Coast and Sydney and Greater Western Sydney.

Powerhouse Adelaide takes on North Melbourne in what should be the match of the round.

The Power’s Laquoiya Cockatoo-Motlap and Litonya Cockatoo-Motlap with the Crows’ Danielle Ponter (centre) ahead of Indigenous Round in Season 7 of the AFLW. Credit: Sarah Reed/AFL Photos via Getty Images

How to watch all the round three AFLW games


Western Bulldogs v Fremantle (Ikon Park)

Sydney: 5.00pm live on 7mate and 7plus

Melbourne: 5.00pm live on 7mate and 7plus

Brisbane: 5.00pm live on 7mate and 7plus

Adelaide: 4.30pm live on 7mate and 7plus

Perth: 3.00pm live on 7mate and 7plus

SATURDAY (Fox Games that are available on 7mate in home states)

Adelaide Crows v Nth Mel @ 12.00 CST on 7mate (ADE ONLY)

Sydney Swans v GWS @ 14.30 AEST on 7mate (SYD ONLY)

Brisbane Lions v SUNS @ 16.30 AEST on 7mate (BRIS ONLY)


Geelong v Collingwood

Sydney: 4.00pm live on 7plus

Melbourne: 4.00pm live on Channel 7 and 7plus

Brisbane: 4.00pm live on 7plus

Adelaide: 3.30pm live on 7plus

Perth: 2.00pm live on 7mate and 7plus


Richmond v Hawthorn (Punt Road)

Sydney: 4.00pm live on 7mate and 7plus

Melbourne: 4.00pm live on Channel 7 and 7plus

Brisbane: 4.00pm live on 7mate and 7plus

Adelaide: 3.30pm live on 7plus

Perth: 2.00pm live on 7plus

James and Tania Hird scammed inordinate amount of money.

James and Tania Hird scammed inordinate amount of money.