Canberra's hopes of hosting the AFL's Sydney derby look set to be derailed with the Victorian government effectively slamming its border shut to the ACT and NSW.
GWS Giants officials had pushed ahead with plans to host their clash with the Sydney Swans at Manuka Oval this weekend as Greater Sydney entered another week of lockdown. Both clubs are currently based in Victoria.
But while the AFL could potentially apply for exemptions, GWS officials concede the Victorian government's decision would make a game in Canberra very difficult to pull off.
Victoria's acting chief health officer declared NSW and the ACT will become red zones under Victoria's travel permit system from 11.59pm on Sunday.
Regional NSW and the ACT were previously listed as orange zones, allowing people from those areas to enter Victoria if they got tested and isolated until they returned a negative result.
But they are now grouped with the Greater Sydney region in the wake of NSW recording 77 new local cases on Sunday.
"Victorian public health authorities are concerned about the risks of transmission beyond current red zones in Greater Sydney and surrounds, and the potential risks this poses to the Victorian community from people entering our state," a health department statement said.
Discussions between the Giants, ACT government and the AFL had been ongoing as the league continues to manage the logistics of its fixture. Giants officials indicated as late as Saturday playing in Canberra was a preference.
All 18 clubs are stationed in Victoria during the latest chapter of the coronavirus pandemic. The Giants have been in Victoria since June 22.
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