The AFL Commission considered awarding the AFLW premiership to one of the four clubs still in contention but ultimately decided it would have felt “contrived” after calling the season off.
AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan announced the decision on Sunday afternoon to cancel the rest of the AFLW season because of the coronavirus crisis.
It came soon after Carlton had booked their place in a second-consecutive preliminary final with a 29-point win over Brisbane at Ikon Park.
Fremantle, North Melbourne and Melbourne were also still in the hunt.
“It was incredibly disappointing and I think the decision ended up being obvious today, but I would’ve loved to have finished (the season),” McLachlan said.
“There was a range of discussions and whether it would be the minor premier, (which is) difficult with two conferences.
“There was a leader there … but in the end, that would’ve all been contrived.
“There’s not a winner this year because we’ve been stood down by something much bigger.”
Fremantle would have had strong claims if the AFL had decided to award the women’s premiership, after winning all seven of their matches in 2020 and thrashing Gold Coast by a record margin on Saturday in their semi-final.
But the Dockers had not played any of the other preliminary finalists this year and North Melbourne were widely considered as flag favourites.
After the news broke, the Dockers tweeted: “Devastating news for our girls. So proud of everything they’ve achieved in 2020, we’ve loved every moment.”
Carlton coach Daniel Harford was philosophical when asked, after his side’s 6.8 (44) to 2.3 (15) win over Brisbane, whether football should continue during the pandemic.
“From a footy perspective, yeah, you’d love to keep going but there are bigger things in life than just footy – we understand that,” he said.
“We love footy and we are so passionate about footy and our girls are just brilliant at the game at the moment. I want to see them achieve as much they can out of it but we understand the bigger picture.
“Footy is just a small component of life and there’s much more important stuff going around at the moment.
“We’re not too stressed about it; we’re just living for the moment.”
Carlton would have faced a nervous wait ahead of their preliminary final against North Melbourne to see if star forward Tayla Harris faced suspension for a sling tackle on Emily Bates.
Young gun Maddy Prespakis was also a concern after suffering an ankle injury.