THE NAB AFLW competition is now whole, with the AFL Commission throwing the door open for Essendon, Hawthorn, Port Adelaide and Sydney to join in the 2022/23 season.

It means all 18 clubs will now have an AFLW side after beginning as an eight-team competition in 2017.

Port Adelaide and Sydney had not previously applied for a licence, while Essendon and Hawthorn first submitted applications ahead of the 2019 intake.

As previously decided by the Commission, the upcoming 2021/22 season will stay at 14 teams, giving the new sides around 16 months to prepare for their debut.

Currently, Hawthorn and Essendon field sides in the VFLW competition (coached by Bec Goddard and Brendan Major respectively), while Port Adelaide and Sydney run junior academy programs (led by Naomi Maidment and Jared Crouch).

Rules around list builds are yet to be confirmed, but in expansions prior, existing teams saw a certain number of players walk to the new clubs, with any additional players over that maximum resulting in compensation.

For fans eager to see just who will join their new AFLW side, list builds won't commence until the conclusion of the upcoming 2021/22 season.

More to come