The Dubbo Demons have learnt their preliminary final opposition a little earlier than planned after the weekend's penultimate round of AFL Central West action was cancelled.
Matches across Tier 1, Tier 2, and the women's competition have all been abandoned due to the current COVID lockdown in Dubbo and surrounding western areas.
The decision to cancel all play this weekend comes just four weeks after the same situation in Orange led to a round's cancellation.
One thing this cancelled round has done is that it has locked in the preliminary matchups for all three senior competitions.
Bathurst Giants have secured the club's first ever senior men's minor premiership in Tier 1, in a somewhat anticlimactic fashion, as their eight point gap back to local rivals Bushrangers is now unassailable.
That also means they go straight through to the grand final and will host the winner of the preliminary final meeting between the Bathurst Bushrangers versus Dubbo Demons.
Parkes Panthers can't be shaken from the top spot of the second tier men's competition and they'll be awaiting the winner of the Cowra Blues-Bushrangers Rebels game.
Giants are also through in the women's competition and will be playing either Demons or Orange Tigers on the last day of the season.
Assuming restrictions are lifted after the one-week timeframe, the final round of the regular season will still go ahead as planned.
Central West AFL regional development coordinator Casey White said the decision to cancel the round's senior and junior matches was agreed upon quite quickly.
"The league's position, as it was during the Orange lockdown, as that if we can get games played we'd like to see them played, but there was an unequivocal decision that the clubs didn't want that to be the case and they just wanted a blanket shutdown," he said.
"As the situation developed and more news came out about Bathurst [and it's COVID-positive sewage test] and the far west, it's looking like a good decision from the clubs."
The plan, at this stage, is to run the last round of the competition as normally scheduled.
"Whilst the league appreciate there may be uncertainty regarding the remaining rounds and finals matches, the league will work tirelessly to ensure the season reaches a conclusion," he said.
"Clubs will now work to develop some contingency plans and to have options available to say 'If this situation happens then this is what we'll do', for example, if the lockdown continues and prevents teams from playing their finals matches."
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