No forfeit: Pies committed to playing postponed qualifying final

COLLINGWOOD and Brisbane are still in a waiting game to find out when their rescheduled AFLW qualifying final will be played.

The Magpies fell below the minimum 16 available AFLW players and five-top ups needed to field a team after a COVID-19 outbreak, which was exacerbated by injuries, suspension and close contacts.

Head of women's football Jess Burger told SEN a number of scenarios have now been presented to the AFL – including the expected date when 16 players will be available, as well as medical advice from the club doctor – but the health of the players will dictate when the game will be played.

Jessica Burger with Collingwood AFLW coach Steve Symonds. Picture: collingwoodfc.com.au

"As we know, this virus can present itself differently in each individual, so it's a matter of us monitoring how they come back, and then working with the AFL on the next steps to get a finals series underway," Burger said.

"[A forfeit] hasn’t been in any of our discussions, nor in the AFL's or Brisbane's, we've been committed to getting this match away when its most safe and appropriate to do so.

"We're able to engage 10 top-up players, mostly from VFLW standard, and they’ve been coming into the club and training to best prepare themselves, should we need to call upon them if we can't field a full team of AFLW-listed players.

"Once we assess the situation over the coming 24 hours with the AFL – we've got a lot more information with tests returning this morning and yesterday – so we'll be able to play.

"Forfeiting is not on the cards, and Brisbane really want to take on a team that is fit and healthy. When you're in finals, likewise with us, you want to beat the best, so we want to prepare to be at our best and we want to play Brisbane at our best as well."

Collingwood's Ruby Schleicher breaks away from the Brisbane defence during round five, 2022. Picture: AFL Photos

The other qualifying final between North Melbourne and Fremantle will be played at Arden Street on Saturday, while Adelaide and Melbourne are cooling their heels and awaiting their opponents in their preliminary final.

The Demons have been drawn to face the winner of Brisbane and Collingwood.

"I think it's really important that where we can get games away, that we do. We know the landscape has been ever-changing, and the AFLW has had to change constantly in the last few months, and this is just another example of that," Burger said.

"The AFL has been really committed all the way along in ensuring where there is an opportunity to play, let's play, and get one step closer to awarding a premier. At the end of the day, that's what these six teams are there for, and ultimately, we don't want that premier to feel like there's an asterisk on it."

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