There are calls for the North East Border Female Football League to reconsider its decision not to award premierships this season.
In a statement released over the weekend, confirming the season had been cancelled, the league revealed teams finishing top of the ladder would only be recognised as minor premiers.
That's despite a COVID by-law, laid out before the season, stating that a premiership would be awarded once a minimum of eight home-and-away games had been achieved - which did happen in all three grades.
Wodonga Raiders topped the open women's competition while Lavington Panthers finished first at under-17 and under-14 level.
"Our understanding was there would be a premiership awarded, so we're confused as to why that's no longer the case," Lavington under-17 coach Martin White said.
"It feels as though the rug's been pulled from under us.
"It's really sad the girls haven't been rewarded for their efforts and character with a premiership, as it states in the by-law."
League operations manager Matthew Elliott explained the change of heart.
"I can understand any disappointment that is felt by people in that circumstance,"Elliott said.
"They (the governing principles in the by-law) were more of a guiding set of principles, just in case something happened.
"We set them up with the best intentions at the beginning of the year.
"They went out around March and quite a lot has changed since that time.
"A lot of us honestly thought we were going to get through the season unscathed and that we'd never have to implement any of that kind of stuff.
"We looked at those guidelines a few times throughout the year and thought 'are we still happy with these, are they best suited for the purpose?'
"There was a lot of public sentiment that you need to win a grand final to win the premiership so that was definitely our line of thinking and that's why we changed it.
"We reviewed a few things across the year and that was one thing that just didn't sit comfortably with us."
Fiona Wragge, the mother of Panthers players Georgia and Imogen Wragge, praised the league for having a contingency plan in place but expressed her disappointment at the u-turn.
"We have a saying in our house that effort equals reward," Wragge said.
"I'm pretty sure the girls' team-mates would feel they deserved the reward of the premiership. I am also sure that girls in all teams in the North East Border Female Football League felt they put in a lot of effort this season with training and playing and that a result for all of this is the right thing to do.
"Yes, it hasn't been a normal season and yes, a premiership is only usually awarded to a team that wins a grand final but nothing is normal these days, is it?
"I don't want to be seen as a sore loser but I hope the FFL will reconsider its decision.
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"We knew it was going to be a tricky season and were reassured there was a careful set of plans in place which meant there would be a result even if the whole season could not be played.
"I applaud the league for being so prepared and thorough. They had covered every eventuality.
"That's why we're all surprised the decision to not award a premiership was made, as there were provisions made in the by-laws."
Some of Lavington's players travelled from as far afield as Leeton and Barellan and White knows retention over the summer won't be easy.
"To not have any premierships awarded to those teams that are deserving of it, I think it's going to hurt the league come next year," White said.
"The challenges my girls faced this year were quite extreme. Some of them travel two-and-a-half hours to play football for us and that's a credit to our league.
"It's not just another girls competition, there's a lot of interest in the wider community.
"Female footy is something the girls enjoy, it's a terrific standard now but knowing that there's no certainty, it may push girls away.
"They might go off and play other sports, knowing there will be a reward.
"That premiership cup is for all those who work behind the scenes as well because they give up their valuable time for our girls to participate in what they love."
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