A raft of last-minute changes was just the first of many amazing aspects in a bizarre contest that eventually saw Sydney down crosstown rival the GIANTS 15.8 (98) to 11.6 (72) on Sunday evening.
The GIANTS lost Toby Greene and Matt de Boer minutes before the opening bounce, while Callum Mills, Harry Cunningham and Colin O'Riordan were all withdrawn from the Swans line up after five players were identified as being at the Wallabies v France rugby match in Melbourne earlier in the week - a Tier 2 Covid exposure site.
All of that drama came before the first siren sounded on a game originally scheduled at GIANTS Stadium, then relocated to Mars Stadium in Ballarat before ending up at Metricon Stadium on the Gold Coast.
Sydney kicked the first goal of the match but the momentum very quickly moved the GIANTS way, slotting the next seven through to early in the second quarter.
It looked like the match was slipping out of the Swans' grasp, but three quick goals before half-time had them back in the contest and, with the next six when play resumed, it was suddenly a red and white tsunami washing powerfully to one end of the ground.
A 34-point deficit had become a 19-point lead at the final break, made worse for the GIANTS with star playmaker Josh Kelly subbed out and ruckman Matt Flynn nursing a shoulder that popped out of its socket on more than one occasion.
Jeremy Finlayson finally broke the Swans' run of nine consecutive majors early in the last quarter and, with the margin back to 13 points, it looked like game on, but not for long.
A 'run of the mill' goal from Sam Wicks, a stunning snap from Tom Papley and then Lance Franklin's fourth sealed the win in a bizarre contest.
GIANTS 6.1 9.2 9.5 11.6 (72)
SYDNEY 1.2 6.4 12.6 15.8 (98)
GIANTS: Himmelberg 3, Hogan 2, Lloyd 2, Bruhn, Kennedy, Perryman, Finlayson
Sydney: Papley 4, Franklin 4, McInerney 2, Wicks 2, Parker, Hickey, Hayward,
GIANTS: Taranto, Hopper, Perryman, Kelly, Coniglio, Himmelberg
Sydney: Kennedy, Parker, Papley, Hewett, Franklin, McInerney, Hickey
GIANTS: Kelly (right ankle), Flynn (dislocated shoulder)
Greater Western Sydney: Greene (isolating) replaced in selected side by Bruhn, de Boer (isolating) replaced in selected side by Sproule
Sydney: Mills (isolating) replaced in selected side by Rowbottom, Cunningham (isolating) replaced in selected side by Stephens, O'Riordan (isolating) replaced in selected side by Ronke
Greater Western Sydney: Sproule (replaced Kelly)
Sydney: Ronke (unused)
Crowd: TBC at Metricon Stadium