Fremantle mentor Trent Cooper has declared his AFL Coaches Association coach of the year award a deserved reward for his team after it was denied a shot at AFLW premiership glory.
The Dockers had seven wins from as many matches when the women's season was abruptly cancelled after week one of finals because of the coronavirus outbreak.
While disappointed with the outcome, second-year coach Cooper said his players could be proud of their unbeaten season and deserved a lot of the credit for his award.
"It's not just an individual award, it's for the whole team," Cooper told AAP.
"If we didn't have the season that we did then I wouldn't have got it, so I think it goes to the players, other coaches and everyone else that's had something to do with the team this year.
Fremantle won all six games in the shortened home-and-away season to finish top of Conference B and smashed Gold Coast by a record margin in a semi-final.
They would have hosted Melbourne in a preliminary final, with Conference A winners North Melbourne and Carlton meeting in the other.
"We were building up and aiming to play our best footy at that time and then to have the rug pulled from under us was disappointing," Cooper said.
"It was obviously the right decision that it had to stop at that time, but that didn't mean it wasn't disappointing."
Cooper took over from Michelle Cowan as Fremantle coach in 2018 and now boasts an 87 per cent winning record, having led his side to the finals in both his seasons at the helm.
He believes the Dockers are in good shape to have another shot at the premiership next year after unveiling new young stars like Roxanne Roux and improving their resilience.
"We should definitely maintain the majority of the group (next season)," Cooper said.
"We played the equal-most debutants of any of the non-expansion sides this year. That was really pleasing, as was the way the existing players taught the new players our systems."
Cooper won the award ahead of Carlton's Daniel Harford and first-year Collingwood coach Steve Symonds.
Australian Associated Press