Fagan message sparks AFL reality check
JUST when we all needed a big case of perspective, Brisbane Lions coach Chris Fagan delivered it.
The AFL world has been sent into a frenzy in recent days after players were told of a hub scenario that would see clubs placed in quarantined hubs for as many as 20 weeks in order to reboot the 2020 season.
Some players, understandably, are concerned about spending such a long time away from families - which mightn't be allowed to travel with players - while Collingwood president and AFL 'coronavirus cabinet' member Eddie McGuire stressed the up-to-20-week idea was a "worst-case scenario".
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But amid suggestions the AFL and the players' union are at loggerheads, Fagan - inspired by a text from former Melbourne coach and MND sufferer Neale Daniher - delivered an abrupt reality check on Thursday.
Fagan encouraged players to "suck it up" should the season have to restart in hubs.
"I got a text from Neale Daniher just to see how I was going. It made me think about how would Neil handle this? The news that he got that he had MND and the choices that he had to make in his life," Fagan said.
"When you think about that and you think about what we're faced with, it's relatively minor. It's short-term, we're not going to jail, we're not going to die, we're not going to war. It will end, we will get back to normal - it's just going to take a little bit of sacrifice for a while.
"I spent (Wednesday) afternoon after Neale's text thinking about all the great things footy has done for me and I reckon I couldn't be any more grateful to the game for all the opportunities I've had.
"I figure right now, what we need to do is actually suck it up and do what's best for the game in the hope that we can return to where we've been at over the last 50 years. That's my attitude towards it - and the majority of our players."
Fagan said he could understand why some players would be concerned about the hubs process, but added they "might just need a little bit more time to process it all".
"I knew about this a week ago, so I didn't probably arrive at that point until (Tuesday) afternoon after a lot of conversations and understanding the whole situation the fullest extent," he said.
"I'm sure, you know, over time, we'll get used to that idea. but it is shock to some people. You go through various phases before you become to accept the situation and move on."
Fagan said the shutdown was initially a "shock" for him but, like many, had developed a good routine to do "constructive, purposeful things".
"I've got a roof over my head and I've got enough money to provide food and stuff like that, so pretty grateful," he said.
"It's a great learning time for us as human beings."
Fagan said most of his players that had returned home to their respective states of origin during the shutdown would all be back in Brisbane by the end of next week.