McLachlan went onto say there is possible “flexibility” with what happens to the AFLW season, which at this stage will go ahead with no crowds.
The AFL says it has not considered holding an AFLW grand final next weekend between the top two conference teams, as had been reported over the weekend.
However, one player with knowledge of discussions with the AFL said playing the entire finals series earlier had been canvassed. She also said playing just a grand final would be extremely unpopular among the playing cohort.
Female players held a teleconference on Monday night with the AFL Players’ Association at which four options were canvassed with the AFLW cohort:
- End season now
- Play a finals series with four teams instead of six starting this weekend
- Play grand final this weekend with top team from both conferences
- Roll the dice on finishing the season as is
Sources indicated that players from Fremantle, who sit atop their conference, were keen to expedite the grand final while players from other clubs preferred the season to keep going as is.
Carlton coach Daniel Harford – whose side sits second in conference B and is firmly in the premiership race – said he thought there would be games this weekend for round seven and that his team just wanted to play. But he said he would be guided by those in charge.
“One thing we were really clear on [was] let’s just enjoy it while we have got it. It’s one of those sorts of things … because it’s a pretty cool thing to do and what happens is out of our hands,” Harford told RSN of his team’s mentality amid the uncertainty.
“Regardless of what ends up happening – playing, not playing, who knows what it looks like – we can’t control any of it so let’s just enjoy what we’ve got.
“That was the theme for the week and let’s just play, see what happens.”
The Age has spoken to AFLW players about their hopes for the remainder of the season.
While opinions varied greatly, two players at clubs currently in the finals wanted plans put in place to finish the season if possible.
“Obviously we would love to play,” one player, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said. “But we understand we might not be allowed to do that.”
The other player said: “If it can be achieved, I absolutely want the competition to go on. So much is unknown and yet to unfold, it’s hard to know what the best course of action is going forward.”
AFLW players are paid for a sixth-month contract, regardless of games played, without match payments.
These contracts cover players in the first two week of the finals, with extra payments received for playing in the grand final.
Lists are divided into four categories, with tier-one players receiving almost $30,000 and tier-four players just over $16,000.
AFLW players who are AFLPA union delegates are meeting Monday afternoon, while the entire AFLW and AFL playing cohort will be part of a teleconference Monday evening to discuss how their competitions proceed.
Anthony is a sports reporter at The Age.
Daniel is an Age sports reporter