The Giants' round 20 blockbuster against Port Adelaide at Manuka Oval is looking increasingly unlikely to proceed in the capital after Victoria plunged back into lockdown, sending the AFL into another chaotic tailspin.
GWS's players and staff fled Victoria for Queensland late on Thursday as the league scrambled to escape the worsening Covid situation in the state. Sydney, North Melbourne, Essendon, Brisbane and Richmond also rushed to the Sunshine State which is ready to prop up the AFL while NSW and Victoria battle the virus.
Canberra was set to welcome the Giants on Sunday, August 1, for their third and final contracted regular-season fixture in the ACT this year. Club officials remain hopeful that will still go ahead but are preparing for the likelihood of it being shifted to another venue.
Chief Minister Andrew Barr and his government are closely monitoring how events play out, and have strongly reaffirmed their commitment to prioritising the safety of ACT residents.
"It is frustrating, but we are very clear that public health will always need to take precedence over sports events," Mr Barr said.
"The ACT Government and the AFL will assess the Covid situation and state border closures closer to the match. There is a great deal of uncertainty at this time.
"Throughout the pandemic, all sporting codes have acted quickly to relocate games or matches throughout the country when COVID lockdowns have been put in place.
"We know the Giants love playing at Manuka and Canberra AFL fans enjoy the games."
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The Giants fled Sydney late last month as the Harbour City was plunged into a lockdown, which has since been extended several times.
Up until as recently as last week, the club remained hopeful it could call on Manuka Oval to host this weekend's Sydney derby against the Swans, but the AFL opted instead to play that match at Ballarat.
That match was rescheduled late on Thursday, and will now be played at the Gold Coast's Metricon Stadium on Sunday night.
"The decisions we have made this morning regarding the locations of a number of teams have been taken out of an abundance of caution," the AFL's fixturing boss Travis Auld said.
"Our approach remains to take risk out of the season where the opportunity presents. We will continue to take measures to ensure that we best manage and minimise risk for those in our game and in the wider community."