The AFL has opted to relocate Sydney and GWS to Queensland as concern grows about the latest COVID-19 outbreak in Victoria.
Both clubs have been based in Victoria since June 22 due to NSW’s coronavirus crisis but were told late on Wednesday night about their next impending move.
The Sydney teams were meant to play their derby in Ballarat on Saturday but that is now likely to be played at the Gabba in Brisbane.
“About nine o’clock, 9.15 (Wednesday night) there was a conversation with the AFL that this is a possibility because we’re playing the Giants and they’re in the same situation,” Swans chief executive Tom Harley told SEN.
“About five minutes later (players were told). The competition is pretty well-drilled at this now and when you talk about the prospects of Victoria and the COVID situation there, it just provides some flexibility in getting to Queensland.”
GWS and the Swans, as well as the Western Bulldogs who are due to play Gold Coast on Saturday, will fly out of Melbourne on Thursday.
But that is not likely to be the end of the Victorian exodus with North Melbourne’s clash with Essendon a chance to be moved from Marvel Stadium to Brisbane.
AAP understands the clubs are bracing to head north on Thursday, with the Bombers to remain in Queensland for at least another week.
Essendon are scheduled to play GWS in round 19, before a date with the Swans the following week.
The Brisbane Lions arrived in Victoria on Wednesday ahead of Friday night’s clash with Richmond at the MCG.
AFL meetings on Thursday will decide what happens with the remainder of round 18 as exposure sites in Victoria continue to be added.