Some Australian sporting leagues such as the NRL continued this weekend, but the AFL has decided it is time to go on hold.

Coronavirus: Aussie rules chiefs suspend AFL, cancel women's league

The AFL has bucked the trend in Australian sport by suspending its season until the end of May, citing "the most serious threat to our game in 100 years".

While rugby league and football at the highest level in Australia continue, with the NRL and A-League playing behind-closed-door games, Aussie rules is going off the menu for the coming weeks.

Its 2020 campaign had only got under way this weekend, and league officials intend to complete a planned 144-game schedule when the coronavirus threat subsides.

In a statement, the league said: "The AFL today announced that it would immediately move to suspend the 2020 Toyota AFL Premiership season at the conclusion of this weekend's matches and conclude the NAB AFL Women's season as a result of the continuing spread of the COVID-19 virus.

"Today's match between West Coast Eagles and Melbourne will be the final match before the AFL season goes into a temporary halt with the suspension of all games until May 31, 2020.

"The AFL will review the situation by the end of April to determine whether a further suspension period would be required."

The women's competition has been scrapped for the season, the AFL said, with the statement explaining: "Given the twin conference structure and that the finals series was not completed, the AFL commission has determined no premiership will be awarded for this season, following a recommendation from the AFL executive."

AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan said: "To say this is the most serious threat to our game in 100 years is an understatement. It is unprecedented in its impact. It is unprecedented in the impact it is having on our game and the wider community, and as a community and as a code, we all need to take the unprecedented and required actions to get through this together."

McLachlan added: "It was the right decision to start the season, and clearly it is now the right decision to stop."

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said earlier that a new ban on non-essential travel need not mean the end of the NRL and A-League seasons.

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