Essendon will join the growing list of teams departing Melbourne on Thursday to avoid Victoria's latest COVID-19 outbreak.
The Bombers and Roos will board a chartered flight together bound for Queensland on Thursday afternoon with North confirming their clash - scheduled for Sunday at Marvel Stadium - will now be played at Metricon Stadium.
It comes after three clubs – Greater Western Sydney, Sydney and the Western Bulldogs – escaped Melbourne on Thursday morning.
A series of phone calls late on Wednesday night led to a decision from the AFL to move the three teams out of Victoria after the state announced 11 new positive coronavirus cases in the previous 24 hours.
Players and staff for the two NSW clubs were told at 9pm AEST on Wednesday they would need to board a flight the following morning to be relocated.
It means the Sydney-GWS game, originally scheduled for Ballarat on Saturday afternoon, will be played in Queensland. A location for the match is yet to be confirmed.
Both teams shared a private plane to Brisbane with plans still being worked through as to where they will be accommodated in Queensland on Thursday night.
The Dogs have flown earlier than anticipated for their game scheduled for Saturday against Gold Coast at Metricon Stadium.
Brisbane flew to Victoria on Wednesday night ahead of Friday night's date against Richmond and will remain in quarantine in their team hotel before returning a negative COVID-19 test.
Meetings will continue on Thursday morning that are expected to have ramifications on other matches for round 18.
As of Wednesday night, Port Adelaide was still planning to fly to Melbourne for its game against St Kilda on Saturday night at Marvel Stadium however both clubs are bracing for change.
The latest news comes after Geelong flew to Perth and touched down on Wednesday afternoon as originally scheduled ahead of Thursday night’s date with Fremantle. All travelling players, coaches and staff were required to undergo COVID-19 tests and will isolate until they return a negative result.