"I have said that the decision to play the final round is not the most important thing at the moment."
Lithgow Workmen's Club president Mark Fordham said he wasn't too concerned on the future of the remaining WPL season during COVID, but rather the safety of the players and their families.
Western Premier League general manager Peter Mitchell knows it's a decision which won't please everyone but the extended lockdown in regional NSW left no choice but to cancel the remainder of the 2021 season.
Following Thursday's announcement from the state government that the lockdown in regional NSW would be extended until at least September 10, Mitchell and Football NSW's Regional Manager for Western, Andrew Fearnley, met and together decided to abandon the rest of the competition.
The WPL season was initially put on hold earlier this month prior to its final round of the regular season, and a four-week finals series still awaited.
Mitchell added it wasn't out of the question for the current stay-at-home orders to be extended again beyond September 10, given the total number of cases in Western NSW went past 400 on Thursday.
Fordham said he was satisfied that Workmens were able to nearly play a full season and supported WPL's decision moving forward.
"The decision the competition administrator has made in both the western and Bathurst leagues, we have supported, the safety of our players and families is priority," he said.
He said he had spoken to a club in Dubbo and expressed his concerns.
"Even though Lithgow and Bathurst have a few cases our thoughts are with the Dubbo and western people as they go through the stress of the pandemic."
Mitchell said it was a tough decision to cancel the competition when it was close to finishing.
"If we'd got another four weeks without lockdown we could have completed it but at this point it won't go ahead due to time constraints," he said.
"I think 90 per cent of the clubs knew if it (lockdown) was extended the inevitable was going to happen.
"It's not just football. I think all sports are in that boat."
Mitchell had previously said pushing the season back into October wasn't a possibility given one club had already stated it wouldn't have players available at that time of year.
The decision to cancel play is a painful one for the clubs given this season's finals was shaping as an entertaining and high-quality affair.
Orana Spurs were on top of the ladder when play was stopped but Orange's Waratahs FC still had a chance of claiming the minor premiership heading into the final.
Defending premiers Dubbo FC was third and Barnstoneworth FC had found its best form at right time of the season and was guaranteed to finish fourth while Parkes and Panorama FC were battling for fifth and the last spot in the finals. Lithgow Workmens finished last on the WPL ladder.
"I feel for everyone involved," Mitchell added.
"They've played all season and for this to happen, unfortunately, probably doesn't sit well with everyone at all.
"But unfortunately these decisions have got to be made and they don't suit 100 per cent of the people 100 per cent of the time and that's the unfortunate part of our jobs."
The fact two sides were still a chance of claiming the minor premiership when play stopped was a major reason while no premiership is likely to be awarded.
The Western Premier League is the second major regional competition to cancel the rest of its season in 2021 after Central West Rugby Union made the same announcement earlier this week.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content: