Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge has concerns about the mental wellbeing of players fighting for their AFL futures in quarantine hubs.
As Victorian clubs play their last games in the state for the foreseeable future, Dogs coach Luke Beveridge wants to the AFL to open hubs to players’ families.
Beveridge says players’ mental welfare should be at the forefront of AFL decision-making when it comes to making calls on which family members can join them in interstate hubs.
Ten Victorian clubs will leave the state, amid its COVID-19 spike, ahead of Round 6.
The Bulldogs are scheduled to fly out of Melbourne on Monday afternoon ahead of matches against Carlton and Essendon on the Gold Coast and expect to be away for up to five weeks.
Beveridge tipped all his players would be part of the travelling party and that “six or seven” of them are hopeful of taking young families with them to Queensland.
“You’ve got to make a case for yourself but I can’t see how you’d be able to knock back a father who wants to take his partner and their child up for a month, especially when the children are so young,” Beveridge said after the Dogs’ 49-point thumping of North Melbourne.
“You blink and they’ve changed, you pick them up in the morning and they look different – you wouldn’t deny that of any young man.
“The critical thing for all the players at every club is a healthy mind and healthy body.
“Anything that keeps them on the right tangent, which is having your family around you if you absolutely need it, is quite critical. So hopefully that’s a fait accompli.”
Geelong coach Chris Scott has urged his players to embrace the hub challenge and expected all of them would travel, with the Cats heading to Sydney to play Brisbane at the SCG before travelling west to the Western Australia hub.
“At the same time we’ve got a responsibility to the people left home,” Scott told reporters after Geelong’s 37-point win over Gold Coast.
“I suspect people say ‘Oh come, on it’s not that bad, is it? Cricketers go on the road all the time.’
“The challenge is that it’s been so quick and we haven’t had a chance to prepare for it.
“No one went into the season, really knowing what we’d signed up for but I think we’ve adjusted pretty quickly, at least psychologically.”
Victoria’s COVID-19 spike only appears to be getting worse, but North Melbourne coach Rhyce Shaw did not expect to spend longer on the road than the five weeks the AFL has told them to plan for.
“The information that I’ve been getting is it wouldn’t be much longer than that,” Shaw said.