AFL premiership stars reflect on COVID-19 period
June 5, 2020
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, competitive sport has come to a standstill.
We have had a lot of disappointed boys who are missing out on playing sport for both St Patrick’s College and their community clubs.
Likewise, Old Collegians playing sport at a professional level have also had their seasons and competitions heavily impacted.
Continuing the series we today catch up with AFL premiership stars Liam Duggan (SPC 2009-14) and Dan Butler (SPC 2009-14) to talk about their experiences.
Name: Liam Duggan
What sport do you play? Football
What team do you play for? West Coast Eagles
Did you have any sport events cancelled or postponed due to Covid19? Yes, season postponed
What has changed with your sport with Covid19? No crowds. Shorter game length.
How has your training been impacted/changed? We weren’t allowed to train at the football club. Only allowed to train in pairs. Now that we’re back at the club contact is minimal and only on set days at this stage [back at the club]
What creative/different training techniques have you implemented whilst in isolation? Gym workouts conducted at home with less equipment [use whatever you can basically]. Creative drills to be able to match game like scenarios with only two people. Make things competitive in any way we could, usually goalkicking.
What does a typical training session look like right now? Now that we are back at the club, we are trying to get as much game like training in as possible. Practicing our craft under pressure that would be similar to what we will face in a match. Session lengths and total kms covered will creep towards a game like situation.
What goals have you set yourself recently? Personally, my goal at the moment is to simply stay relaxed and enjoy getting back into footy. I’ll be going into a hub on the Gold Coast shortly so for me it’s important to stay flexible with everything going on. My goal for the year is to win and improve my output for the team.
Has your motivation to train been impacted? What have you done to stay motivated? It has at times been hard to stay motivated especially during the time that we were away from the club but for me it was always a chance to get out of the house, break a sweat and do something I love. I also didn’t want to be out of shape for the date we were coming back into the club.
What are you most looking forward to when your sport returns? Competitive footy and looking forward to playing and training with my teammates.
Name: Daniel Butler
What sport do you play? AFL
What team do you currently play for? St Kilda FC
Did you have any sport events cancelled or postponed due to Covid19? The whole AFL season postponed and forced to live in isolation for an unknown period of time until play can resume.
What has changed with your sport with Covid19? We effectively had to stay at home, train, eat and live as an AFL player and be prepared for when they call on us to play.
How has your training been impacted/changed? Couldn’t train in groups for over 2 months and forced to train in pairs. This makes it difficult to train game like scenarios and put you under game like pressure.
What creative/different training techniques have you implemented whilst in isolation? Had to make a gym at home and get creative with exercises to keep myself motivated and get some enjoyment out of what I was doing. Fortunately, I have two younger brothers that made this easier.
What does a typical training session look like right now? Before we step foot inside the club, we have to answer a series of questions about our current health. We then get our temperature recorded and can enter the club. We are in separate change rooms depending on our number and have to maintain social distancing rules whilst at the club. We are in groups of 8 and only certain days are we all allowed to train together as a full team. Hygiene is the number one priority so there is lots of hand sanitisers around and the environment is cleaned regularly. We also get tested for Covid=19 twice a week.
When we get home we are still on the first set of restrictions so this means no leaving the house other than exercise or work, no seeing friends or family or going to sit down in a park, or else we are in strife.
What goals have you set yourself recently?The main goal for me the whole of isolation was just to stay professional and look after my body. It’s very easy to get sucked into mums delicious cooking and going overboard in sweets and desserts.
I still wanted to maintain a good diet and train with intensity.
Has your motivation to train been impacted? What have you done to stay motivated? There were stages where you feel like you can’t be bothered or there’s no point so I just tried to make each session enjoyable and fun by training with my brothers and having a laugh while we were doing it.
What are you most looking forward to when your sport returns? I think the main thing I’m looking forward to is just being able to play in front of crowds again, it felt very odd playing in front of an empty stadium in round 1. Also celebrating with my teammates afterwards and being able to enjoy a few beers together with no restrictions.
A full list of all Old Collegians to have played senior VFL/AFL football can be found at this link.