AFL star Jacob Hopper reflects on an interrupted AFL season

June 23, 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.

So, this month we have asked Old Collegian sport stars such as Tom McDonald , Matt and Sam Short  and Liam Duggan and Dan Butler how COVID-19 has impacted their sport and what they are doing to stay motivated during this time.

In this final instalment of the series, we caught up a couple of weeks ago with GWS Giant Jacob Hopper before the AFL season resumed.

Jacob Hopper

Name: Jacob Hopper

What sport do you play? Football

What team do you play for? Greater Western Sydney Giants

Did you have any sport events cancelled or postponed due to Covid19? Yes, season postponed

What has changed with your sport with Covid19? Change of schedule. Training restrictions. Change of game length. Change of game day procedures.

How has your training been impacted/changed? Firstly, banned from training facility. Had to train at home and abide by government
restrictions. Current restrictions on how many people are allowed to train at any given time with no contact, slowly progressing to larger numbers and the introduction of contact.

What creative/different training techniques have you implemented whilst in isolation? An opportunity to rehab any lingering injury concerns and participate in more robust/cross fit type training to try and mimic contact fatigue.
Pursue other sporting interests.

What does a typical training session look like right now? Not allowed to train full contact with the full group for main training days. However, whilst
not in drills must maintain 1.5m social distancing. When not on field must be in smaller groups of 8 for weights, Pilates and physio. Covid testing twice a week .

What goals have you set yourself recently? Put myself in the best physical and mental position to be ready to compete and excel when the time comes to play again
View the isolation periods as a chance to get better.

Has your motivation to train been impacted? What have you done to stay motivated? Yes absolutely have felt the need for some competition without being able to play, so training can feel repetitive. To stay motivated have set short term training goals and have tried not to look too far into the future as there has been no set date for a return to play (at time of writing). Made sure to create fun competing skills challenges with training partner, to create pressure environments.

What are you most looking forward to when your sport returns? Being able to play games again, the competition that you strive towards in all of your training .