Essendon recruit Tom Cutler has supported calls for the return of football through quarantine hubs, should the relevant authorities give clearance to the proposed idea.
With the AFL on Thursday confirming it would provide a timeline by late April on the return of football, Cutler said players across the League would have their own views on the hubs, which had generated significant debate across the competition.
“I think the hubs have been a pretty interesting talking point, largely because there will probably be some players who object to it, and that may be fair enough to them, but I think to get the game of football back, it does seem like the most practical way at this stage. There’s a lot to play out,” Cutler told SEN 1116 on Thursday.
“We’ll find out more when the AFL addresses the industry later this month to outline what they’re thinking but I think we need to be open-minded to the idea of football starting again this season in some capacity.
“There are a lot of technical problems to work through it – how do you get the players to a destination, how many officials can you take, what kind of testing profiles will there be? As players, we have a large obligation to society and the health of the players, the staff and umpires that will be allowed in the hubs but then also we must factor in if this is right for society? There are a lot of things for the AFL to work through and it will be interesting to see what the AFL release when they provide an update soon.”
The 25-year-old, who arrived at the Bombers last year via a trade with the Brisbane Lions, said he was maintaining contact with his teammates almost daily in a bit to keep connected to the club during the AFL shutdown period.
“When I first joined the football club, that was the one thing I was really focused on – just trying to build those relationships with my new teammates and the coaching staff and the football club in general. There has been a bit of a handbrake around that now, but fortunately I had the pre-season to establish that, and I played in round one and have built some really good relationships already,” Cutler said.
“There are various ways (we all stay in touch). For instance, we had a virtual gym session today and last night there was a group of about five to six of us and Blake Caracella and some of the other coaches talking to us via the Zoom app.
“We also have our WhatsApp groups which is headed up by the leadership group guys and obviously we can jump on the phone and we’ve been having calls with the coaches so we do feel really connected and there’s various ways you can maintain that connection.
“All our guys have been given a (training) program and we’re starting to touch on the football aspects in various ways but we’re just keeping in touch with one another. That’s a great thing about football clubs – you spend so much time together and we all enjoy each other’s’ company, so we’ve been trying to do like a lot of society has, across various apps and platforms like Zoom and WhatsApp.”
Cutler said he was an advocate for upskilling and revealed he was taking up full-time university studies during this period.
“I’m currently doing my bachelor of commerce and had been doing two subjects while balancing my football, so now I’m doing four subjects,” he said.
"I’m trying to keep myself busy at home and do some extra study and spend time training and staying ready for if and when the season does restart.
I have spoken to a couple of my teammates about how they might use this time and how they might go about best using this time. Obviously not everyone goes to uni, but there are ways for us as players to do other things, through other jobs or their own businesses, and there is always opportunity to study and upskill ourselves too.”