The GIANTS’ AFLW team will temporarily relocate to Albury in southern NSW to ensure the 2021 AFLW competition can begin as scheduled in late January.
With state borders closed to Greater Sydney residents due to a Coronavirus cluster in the state’s Northern Beaches region, the GIANTS are currently unable to travel interstate, potentially impacting the start of their 2021 AFL Women’s season. The GIANTS’ first game of the season is scheduled against the Fremantle Dockers at Fremantle Oval on 31 January.
The GIANTS will relocate on January 1 to Albury where they will remain for 14 days before moving to Melbourne to play a practice match on the weekend of January 16/17, before travelling to Western Australia 14 days later.
By relocating to Albury the club’s AFLW program satisfies current Government requirements to enter Victoria which will then in turn satisfy current Government requirements to enter Western Australia.
A number of GIANTS’ players who returned to Victoria and regional NSW for the Christmas break prior to the border closures will link up with the team in Albury on 1 January.
The GIANTS’ Irish players - Cora Staunton and Bríd Stack - will meet the team in Albury, having completed two weeks of hotel quarantine after entering Australia from Ireland. Louise Stephenson is the only player not relocating to Albury due to final training commitments with Fire and Rescue NSW.
GIANTS General Manager of Football Jason McCartney said: “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.
“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.”