Giants leave Sydney to start AFLW season

Shayne Hope
·2-min read

Travel restrictions relating to Sydney's coronavirus outbreak have forced Greater Western Sydney's AFLW squad to leave the city to ensure the 2021 season can begin as scheduled.

The Giants, the only AFLW team based in NSW, are unable to travel interstate direct from Sydney and will spend 14 days in Albury from January 1.

From there, they will move to Melbourne for a practice match and stay 14 days in Victoria before flying to Western Australia ahead of the round-one fixture against Fremantle on January 31.

The schedule has been designed to satisfy various state government travel requirements.

GWS football manager Jason McCartney said state border restrictions had forced the club's hand.

"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," McCartney said in a statement.

"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."

GWS are due to host their first two home matches of the season at Blacktown in February, against Melbourne and Brisbane.

It is too early to tell whether those matches will be able to go ahead as planned or need to be rescheduled.

Irish players Cora Staunton and Brid Stack will join the GWS squad in Albury, having completed two weeks of hotel quarantine after entering Australia.

Louise Stephenson is the only player not relocating to Albury, due to her training commitments with Fire and Rescue NSW.