The GWS Giants' AFLW team will temporarily relocate to Albury on New Year's Day to ensure the 2021 season can begin as scheduled in late January.
The Giants are set to remain on the Border for 14 days before they head to Melbourne to play a practice match on the weekend of January 16 and travel to Western Australia two weeks later for the season opener against Fremantle on January 31.
With state borders closed to Greater Sydney residents due to a COVID-19 cluster in Sydney's Northern Beaches region, the Giants are unable to travel interstate, which could impact the start of their 2021 premiership quest.
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A number of Giants' players who returned to Victoria and regional NSW for the Christmas break prior to the border closures, including Holbrook's Alyce Parker, will link up with the team in Albury on January 1.
By relocating to Albury, the club's AFLW program can satisfy government requirements to enter Victoria, which will then in turn satisfy meet the criteria to travel to Western Australia.
"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' general manager of football Jason McCartney said.
"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."