GREATER Western Sydney CEO David Matthews is refusing to place blame on players and staff who attended the Wallabies v France rugby match at AAMI Park last Tuesday that has since been identified as a COVID exposure site.
The Giants and Swans who went to that clash (including high-profile stars Toby Greene and Callum Mills) were ruled out of the Sydney Derby and are now living under supplementary protocols that restrict their movements as agreed to with the AFL for the next seven days when they will be reassessed.
LATE DERBY CHANGES Get in the car, bring your boots
Like their crosstown rivals Sydney, the Giants have been living away from home for four weeks and have had to play 'home' games away from their own venues.
"The players are living under the conditions that are afforded to them in the place they are in," Matthews said.
"When we got out of Sydney, the opportunity to essentially live the way that the rest of Victoria is living was obviously pretty appealing.
"There didn't appear to be, at the time, any significant risk in Melbourne. Our players are risk intolerant, in the sense that if they think there is an opportunity they should avoid, then they'll try to do that."
Matthews is still hopeful that the Giants' match against Port Adelaide in round 20 will take place at Manuka Oval as originally fixtured.
"[Matches in Canberra] are a big priority. We were optimistic of playing the derby there against the Swans and then also playing Port. The derby obviously didn't eventuate but Port is still a possibility," Matthews said.
"It doesn't matter if we're based in Queensland or Canberra, we can fly in and out if that was required. We're just monitoring that one at the moment but, tentatively, we would try to play in Canberra."
The Giants' only other home game remaining this season is against Richmond in round 22. It was scheduled to be played at Giants Stadium but Matthews said it is "certainly a possibility" that might be moved to Canberra.
The Giants are continuing to work on plans to reunite the players, coaches and staff with their families that are still living in Sydney.
A transition hub that would allow for the family reunions remains a "priority" for the club, according to Matthews, but he acknowledged that the AFL and relevant government departments have had lots of other matters to consider in recent days.
Matthews has thrown his support behind the AFL's approach to keeping the season going despite the impacts the recent COVID-19 outbreaks have had on his club.
He believes the priority for the competition should continue to be playing matches where possible rather than bringing forward an end of season bye.
"If we can keep playing then let's just keep pushing on and getting these fixtures away. That's the important thing unless anybody is really adversely affected," Matthews said.
"If the Swans or the Giants had an entire team at the Wallabies game, then you've got a different situation, but I think at the present time everybody is just keen to push on