The Greater Western Sydney Giants’ AFLW team have been forced to relocate to Albury in a desperate move to ensure the competition can begin in late January.
The closure of state borders to Greater Sydney residents in response to the outbreak of COVID-19 on the Northern Beaches means the Giants are unable to travel interstate.
But their relocation to Albury in southern New South Wales means they will be able to get their season underway in a match against Fremantle in Perth on January 31.
The Giants will travel to Albury on Friday, quarantine for 14 days and continue to Melbourne to play a practice match on the weekend of January 17-18, before setting off for Western Australia 14 days later.
“The NSW Government has done a brilliant job keeping the Northern Beaches cluster under control but in light of the current border restrictions we have had to make alternative plans as part of our lead in to the commencement of the 2021 AFLW season,” Giants GM of Football Jason McCartney said in a statement.
“While leaving Sydney is far from ideal this close to round one, it’s the only course of action currently available to ensure the season has the best chance of running as planned.
“We thank the AFL and the NSW Government for their support and assistance stepping through a challenging process and we thank the city of Albury for hosting us.
“The incredible commitment and sacrifice our players and staff have shown to enable this relocation cannot be overstated.
“This move is yet another COVID-related challenge but we’re looking forward to hitting the road and our players are embracing the opportunity with their sights set firmly on round one.”