The AFL is still open to a wildcard finals series and best-of-three grand final format, but time is running out due to coronavirus lockdowns.
League fixtures boss Travis Auld says the wildcard format, which could allow teams just outside the top eight to compete in the opening round of the finals, is still an option but it will further lengthen an already truncated season.
“If we have got the time maybe but things would have to change really quickly for us to be in a position where we have spare time,” Auld told the Herald-Sun.
“If we had kept going from Round One we would have had spare time but every week that goes by you lose that space.
“Getting 17 rounds away in a shortened period of time and then four weeks of finals is our base.”
In response to the unprecedented conditions presented by COVID-19, the league has already shortened the season to 17 rounds and shrunk quarters to 16 minutes plus time-on.
AFL boss Gillon McLachlan has refused to rule out playing a grand final as late as December away from the MCG, with the league to get creative if given the green light to restart the season.
The AFL was on Friday handed the flexibility to play games deep into December when the AFL Players’ Association agreed to a new pay deal to slash wages by up to 70 per cent in response to the shutdown.