Clubs set to adopt a family-first approach during shutdown


“I think we would like to get our players back into their family lives for a period of time. We’re not sure how long that will be. Our first thought would be to do that.

“Football is secondary. I am sure our high performance team and medical team will come up with an appropriate program for those guys who are away – whether indoors or outdoors, we’re not sure, but we know that have to have a break from the club and family is the priority right now.”

West is best: Adam Simpson addresses his team at three-quarter time during the Eagles’ round one clash against the Demons.Credit:Getty Images

Every club has players and staff members who have uprooted from their home states to play football or work in the game.

Eagles coach Adam Simpson admitted to not being sure how to address the situation with his players before the game.

He listened to Gill McLachlan’s announcement in the car in the way to the ground and said a couple of scenarios crossed his mind.

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“Do you tell the players, or do you not talk about it?” he said. “We spoke about it with our leaders first.

“I didn’t know whether to say, ‘boys, this is the last game for two or three months so let’s treat it like our grand final, or this is just round one, it’s four points’.

“I didn’t know whether to motivate with something along the lines of ‘there are some people who might have watched their last game of footy ever today’.

“It’s bizarre really, the last 10 days for the nation, and we’re part of that. I’m proud of our players. I’m proud of Melbourne’s players as well for putting on a show.

“Hopefully we put a smile on some people’s faces for a few days. I didn’t miss a minute, I watched every game [of round one].”

The clubs will have a couple of days to sort out travel arrangements and training and fitness programs for their players before shutting down.

It will be akin to an extended end-of-season period, where players will be expected to continue to train by themselves and return in peak condition. As they won’t be able to head to Bali, Las Vegas, or Europe during this layoff, that should be easier than usual.

Simpson warned that people need to be prepared to come back to a game that is a little different to what we enjoy now.

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“We’re all in this together. Every club is going to have different issues,” he said.

“Our bottom line will look a lot different financially than perhaps a team like my old club North (Melbourne), but the hurt is still there.

“And the industry will do it as a collective. It will probably mean a change in roles, change across the whole industry in how we manage our staff and players.

“All we can do is stay together and understand there will be change – not tomorrow, it will be down the track. When that happens, I think all forms of leadership in our industry have put their hand up to say whatever it takes we’ll do.”

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