Sport

Hawkins weighs in for AFL season

By Daniel Hughes

Finley's Tom Hawkins will lace up his boots for the return of the 2020 AFL season in three weeks’ time

An announcement from the league on Friday, May 17 confirmed the season would resume on Thursday, June 11, with players returning to restricted training yesterday.

Groups will initially be held to 10 people at training, before full contact training resumes from Monday, May 25.

The return to the footy field will put players and associated staff under a microscope with all players and returning football department staff to be tested.

Information and education sessions on the protocols players and staff will need to follow will also be carried out prior to the return of players.

Testing and education also applies to umpires and AFL Match day staff once the season resumes.

Hawkins said he and his Geelong teammates will be ready by June 11.

He said the club gave each player tailored training plans to set expectations for players to stay ready to return as soon as possible.

“It will be weird coming back, you trust your teammates have done the right thing,” Hawkins said.

“I'm absolutely pumped that at this stage our return date to play is June 11.

“We will continue to remain agile during the next month, while we train to prepare for round two.

“The club has readied itself for all scenarios for returning to the sport so it will be the case of them working it out and letting the players know the course of action.

“I don't think it will take the players long to get back to a ready state to take the field.

“Certain physical aspects need to be ready before we return, but training with the team is totally different to training on your own.

“I'm ready to play at the moment I think, our program has given us the best chance to be ready right away.

“Today (Monday) was our first day back. It was such a weird day, however it was so good to be back around the football club.

“We were in six different groups at staggered times throughout the day.

“So I didn't see all my teammates, but I will in due course. I can't wait to get back in there tomorrow (yesterday).”

Hawkins said before teams could return to the oval against each other, the ease of restrictions has to be done carefully and safely.

“It's a matter of how we manage the relaxing of restrictions,” he said.

“We just need to make sure that as a country that we do it well in order not to get locked down again.”

Hawkins said that while training alone was difficult at times, remembering the ultimate goal of returning to the team and setting his own expectations helped keep him motivated.

“While I have lost some muscle mass because I don't have the same access to weight based training.

“I ultimately wanted to lose that slight muscle mass in order to get more agile on the field so I have accomplished that during isolation.

“At times it was difficult to stay motivated as an individual but we have been in contact with each other as a team to keep each other going.

“I'm feeling really positive now, I'm sure every player is in the same boat, eager and ready to play.”