Livingstone explains reasoning behind massive calls

AFL HEAD of women's football Nicole Livingstone said the desire to have a result of the season was the reasoning behind jumping straight to finals in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The final two rounds of the home and away season were axed in a decision announced on Wednesday night, with an extended eight-team finals series quickly introduced to start this weekend.

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"The last few days have been very busy, a lot of unknowns that we've been waiting to get advice from various areas," Livingstone told womens.afl

"But we're pleased we've got a determination of what it looks like for AFLW and to get the season complete. 

"The motivating sense for us is to try to get a result for the AFLW competition in what is a very uncertain time, to move straight to finals allows us to do that. 

"Because we have concluded the home and away two rounds early, we have extended to two more teams into this finals series." 

There was confusion after AFL CEO Gillon McLachlan's announcement the AFLW would jump straight to finals with a fixture to be announced the following day (Thursday morning), with Collingwood, Melbourne, Brisbane and Gold Coast uncertain if their seasons were to continue. 

In the end, all four teams will participate, meaning the Suns will play finals for the first time in the club's history.

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"Being able to communicate things early is always the preference, but we're certainly in unprecedented time," Livingstone said. 

"I was keeping in touch behind the scenes as much as I could with clubs, just to let them know whether it was no news at this stage, or how far away I thought the news was. 

"I feel like we did as well as we could in what was a pretty unusual set of circumstances in keeping in touch with clubs." 

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Livingstone said the AFL was "planning for everything" this week while awaiting advice, and things remained fluid. 

"It is an unsettled time for everybody, we're going to continue to listen to advice and we'll make decisions based on that advice. For right now, we're looking at a three-week finals series, and if things change, we'll respond accordingly to that," she said.

WATCH IT LIVE How to follow the AFLW this weekend

With fans unable to attend games due to government restrictions, North Melbourne will host Collingwood in a locked-out semi-final, but it will be played at Ikon Park, not the club's home ground of Arden Street. 

With only a handful of venues in Melbourne capable of being completely locked down, scheduling in conjunction with the AFL's round one saw Ikon Park getting the nod over Marvel Stadium.

"It's about keeping venues in lock-down mode," Livingstone said. 

"There's a men's game (Essendon v Fremantle) at Marvel Stadium that afternoon, and there aren't many venues that have the ability to have multiple changerooms running. 

"We wanted to make sure we weren't compromising athletic performance for AFLW players, making sure they had ample room to do everything they wanted to do and not compromised. Ikon gives us the opportunity to do that."