Blues coach ‘devastated’ by AFLW call
There is no AFL Women's premier in 2020.
Some 90 minutes after Carlton toppled Brisbane to earn a spot in an AFLW preliminary final, league chief executive Gillon McLachlan declared the season over and that no premier would be named in the fourth season of the burgeoning competition.
He said that the AFL commission had considered a range of options, including awarding the flag to Fremantle as the leader across both conferences, but said that it would have "been contrived".
"There are no winners today," McLachlan said.
"The decision, it was incredibly disappointing, but I think the decision ended up being obvious today.
"I would have loved to have finished."
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McLachlan, in conceding that the game was facing its biggest crisis, said that the virus proved "much bigger" than any winner.
"It was discussed (naming a premier)," he said.
"Frankly, it was a range of discussions - whether it would be the minor premier … whether you could have a ranking including finals.
"But in the end, it would have all been contrived. There's not a winner this year, because we've been stood down by something much bigger."
Women's football pioneer Sue Alberti said that the game "may be down now, but not out".
"Yes we will work together," she tweeted.
"Look after our family and friends. We will come back from this crisis stronger than ever. Australians are tough and resilient. God bless to everyone."
Carlton coach Daniel Harford could only describe himself as "devastated" in the wake of the news.
"I'm devastated for my girls and my staff, knowing what they have done to get to this point," he said.
"But I also have a clear view of the bigger picture and the insignificance of football in that."
Brisbane coach Craig Starcevich had earlier conceded that the season "might have to have an asterisk next to it".
Originally published as Blues coach 'devastated' by AFLW call