RICHMOND player Rebecca Miller says significantly better pay for AFLW players this year will result in a better product long term, allow players to devote more time to football and reduce mental stress.
The AFL and AFL Players Association agreed on a one-year Collective Bargaining Agreement last month, in time for the start of the next season in August, which effectively almost doubled the salary of AFLW players.
It has allowed Miller, 26, to significantly reduce her hours working at a labour hire company and focus more on football.
"Is a great day when it was announced, it's a great start and I'm really stoked for the girls who have been there (in AFLW) for six years and have got this reward," she said.
"It lessens the mental load, you can drop down your hours at work, then having to go to training and crack in.
"I know personally I'm going from 25 hours (a week at work) down to 15 and now the majority of my income will come from football, which is pretty cool.
"I can sleep more and have better recovery, I'll complete sessions better or do extra sessions, I can catch up with teammates and develop that off field connection.
"There's so many benefits from having that extra ten hours in my life.
"The first season (of AFLW) the girls in the lowest tier were getting six grand for six months work, which is taxed heavily as a second job. Getting that to 40k (minimum wage to $39,184) is a big difference.
"It just helps mentally, which is probably the big factor. You can relax a bit more and you don't have to squeeze yourself as much."
The players turned down the AFL's three-year CBA for a one year deal, with the main factor a desire to increase the number of regular season matches from ten in future seasons.
"The AFL originally tabled a three year deal with ten games a season, which wasn't good enough in the players' eyes, that was the major sticking point," Miller said.
"Personally I'm happy there's only ten games this season (with start date moved to August), playing two seasons a year takes it out of you, but we want more in the seasons ahead.
"It's very exciting what's going to happen and we're very much looking forward to it."
Miller is confident Richmond can compete for a maiden finals berth this year. The league has expanded to 18 teams, with a top eight finals system introduced.
"We've been able to keep the majority of our core group together and have got a few additional players," she said.
"Finals are definitely one of our goals. We've developed for three years, and now it's time to start competing."
Meanwhile, fellow Wagga product Gabby Colvin has recommitted to Melbourne for the upcoming season.
The defender has played for the Demons, beaten in this year's grand final by Adelaide, for the past three campaigns.
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