THE rebel VFLW Grand Final could be set down for Toyota AFL Grand Final weekend after high-level talks between the AFL, Collingwood and Geelong on Thursday.
The league and the two clubs are desperate to play the game to reward the players for an outstanding season in the most trying of circumstances, with the Magpies undefeated in 18 matches dating to the 2019 second semi-final and the Cats having bounced back from consecutive losses to Collingwood with two strong knockout wins of their own.
Officials must also work around the fact AFLW pre-season training is scheduled to start in early September, immediately after the present lockdown is due to end.
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It is a key sticking point that is not affecting the VFL men’s competition yet given the AFL season doesn’t start until the national women’s league is wrapping up in March, meaning AFL pre-season training is not likely to get underway until December.
But officials and players from each of the grand finalists have reaffirmed their commitment to find a way around that recommendation, given they have already had so much extra time off in lockdowns in the past two seasons.
The clubs will resume discussions with the AFL about September 12 to create a roadmap to play the VFLW Grand Final within two weeks of that date. This enables all players, coaches and staff a break over the next few weeks.
Those talks could be brought forward should a solution become available sooner.
If the match is set down for Sunday, September 26, it will be 57 days since Geelong defeated Essendon in the preliminary final and 64 since the Magpies downed the Bombers in the second semi.
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"The 2021 season has been a challenge to everyone connected to football," AFL Head of Talent Pathways and State League Competitions Tristan Salter said.
"The AFL is very proud of how all VFLW clubs, players, officials, supporters and corporate partners have managed through a difficult year and kept their communities connected.
"There are too many unknowns at this point and we need to remain flexible in our approach to playing the game as circumstances may change."
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