IT WAS a gut-wrenching decision, but it was the right one.
That is the feeling of Carlton forward Darcy Vescio following the AFL’s decision to cancel the remainder of the AFLW season without awarding a premier.
Football is a rollercoaster of emotions at the best of times, yet Sunday was on an unprecedented level.
At 2:50pm, the Blues had booked their place in a second successive preliminary final after a dominant 29-point win over Brisbane.
Georgia Gee kicked three, Maddy Prespakis had it on a string and the backline was yet again an immovable Navy Blue wall.
Then, less than two hours later, it was all over.
AFL CEO Gillion McLachlan delivered the news just after 4:30pm that the AFL season had been suspended and the 2020 AFLW season would cease immediately without a premier.
For a playing group that spent a summer preparing and hitting form at the perfect time of the season, it was shattering news.
However such is their class, they understood it was for the greater good.
“I had just arrived home and was blasting music when the first messages about footy stopping were sent in our WhatsApp group – screenshots from social media of the news breaking. We were devastated,” Vescio wrote in her column for the Herald Sun.
“In that moment I didn’t know how to feel. I was a bit numb and empty initially but then the gravity of the situation started setting in. My mum called me within five minutes of the news breaking and we chatted about everything. Mum always knows what to say. She talked about the challenges of implementing social distancing with her prep class. Footy really was just footy.
“While it was tough to accept at first, I’m glad the AFL didn’t jump to crown a premier a week after deciding to play a three-week finals series. Gillon McLachlan put it perfectly when he said it would have been “contrived”. I don’t know many players who’d want to win a premiership on those terms. I know I wouldn’t.
“The threat we’re facing as a society is far more important. People are sick, in hospital – the lives of millions have been affected. Most heartbreakingly, thousands have lost their lives.
“We won’t have footy for a while but we have a unique opportunity to tackle something together. We’re venturing into the unknown but every person has a crucial role to play.”