2022 VFL dates, changes to season announced

Williamstown Seagulls

By Molly Magennis

The 2022 Victorian Football League season is set to return on the weekend of March 26-17, with clubs receiving a 10 per cent increase in their salary cap.

The competition will return to an 18-game home and away season, with an extra two games to try and get the competition back to normal.

The new fixture will feature 22 rounds, with clubs receiving nine home games and four byes each.

The salary cap has been increased from $200,000 to $220,000 for VFL standalone clubs and from $100,000 to $110,000 for the AFL and AFL-aligned outfits.

Clubs can also pay $10,000 outside the salary cap for coaches, and a $5000 concession has been added to employ indigenous coaches in an effort to encourage more indigenous footballers to follow a coaching pathway after their playing careers.

The 23rd-player rule that was removed for the 2021 season has been reinstated, but the 60 per cent game time restriction will not make a return.

The 23rd-player rule means that the extra player must be aged under 22 for AFL and aligned clubs and can only be used in that role four times in the home-and-away season.

The rule will not apply to the seven standalone clubs however, such as the Williamstown, who will still only be required to select six under-22s.

The Seagulls and Footscray will look to build upon their 2021, which was cut short in September due to the ongoing COVID lockdowns in Melbourne.

The Seagulls managed to win six games in 2021 and were considered major contenders to take out the premiership. Footscray, which finished on top of the ladder, was awarded the minor premiership.