Sydney’s two teams will soon join the AFL’s COVID-19 exodus as they prepare for the prospect of spending the rest of this season away from home.
Victoria’s 10 clubs were forced to pack up and move interstate earlier this month because of a coronavirus outbreak in Melbourne.
The situation is currently not as grim in Sydney but the growing rate of community transmission has prompted Queensland to declare the entire NSW capital a COVID-19 hotspot.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced her state’s border will close to Sydneysiders from 1am on Saturday.
The AFL’s fixtures boss Travis Auld had anticipated such a development; scheduling Sydney and GWS to play their next two games in Queensland before heading to a hub in Western Australia.
But the border closure will force both the Swans and Giants, who will square off in their cross-city derby at Perth’s Optus Stadium on August 13, to hastily alter a range of plans.
GWS will now fly out on Thursday – for Sunday’s clash with Gold Coast – with the Swans expected to also depart NSW two days earlier than first planned.
The Sydney clubs were originally scheduled to share a flight into Queensland on Saturday.
That arrangement may no longer be practical given both clubs’ travelling parties will swell because they are taking more players than would be the norm for a single game.
Giants football manager Jason McCartney told AAP earlier this week he planned on taking the club’s entire squad into the Perth hub.
Swans coach John Longmire conceded on Tuesday it was possible that his team won’t play again in Sydney this year.
“Anything is possible in this environment,” Longmire said.
“You have to roll with the punches a bit. If that’s the case, that’s the case … if the plan changes we’ll move with it.
“What you’re fast becoming accustomed to is turning up to work on a Monday and being not sure what the next day will bring.”