Lockdown hits home for AFL stars in hubs

Jack Riewoldt admits leaving his family to join the Tigers' hub was 'really tough'.
Jack Riewoldt admits leaving his family to join the Tigers' hub was 'really tough'.

Geelong veteran Tom Hawkins is bracing for further changes to his AFL club's itinerant schedule, having already investigated the possibility of flying his young family into a hub.

Richmond premiership star Jack Riewoldt admits he second-guessed his decision to enter a hub in Queensland after Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews ordered Melbourne into a six-week coronavirus lockdown.

Hawkins, who departed for Sydney without wife Emma and their two young daughters, says he will be OK but he is worried about his family.

The Cats will head straight to Perth after their clash with Brisbane at the SCG on Thursday night.

League boss Gillon McLachlan had indicated Victoria's 10 teams would spend 32 days interstate before returning home, but that plan is expected to change because of the health crisis in Melbourne.

"Once we've got concrete information in front of us, I'll work through it and work out the best decision for me, my family and the football club," Hawkins told reporters.

"I'm expecting that things might change.

"Especially with the border closing, I had discussions with some teammates and some key people at the footy club on what it may look like to get my family around.

"We'll keep working through that, but it does appear unlikely."

The power forward called on fans and pundits to be "understanding and sympathetic" in response to players deciding they need to be around family in coming weeks.

Riewoldt's teammates Bachar Houli and Shane Edwards chose not to travel to the Gold Coast for family reasons.

Hawkins suggested he had been taking comfort in knowing it would only be a month away from home.

"From what my wife has told me, the first few days have been pretty tough. Our daughter Arabella hasn't been sleeping, and our youngest is teething," he said.

"It's more about their health and wellbeing ... with these restrictions, Emma is going to be on her own a lot."

If the league proceeds with its original timeframe for the hubs, Melbourne will still be in lockdown and that would throw up a major roadblock for the AFL's vision of a shortened 17-round season in which each club plays each other once.

Riewoldt admitted he "cried like a baby" while saying goodbye to young daughter Poppy and wife Carly.

"I probably have second-guessed a little bit coming up here," Riewoldt said on Fox Footy's AFL360.

"I think over the whole period here, I'll constantly ask myself 'Why am I here? What am I actually doing leaving my young family to come up here and play a game?'"

Australian Associated Press