Unique challenges in AFL hubs: Beveridge

By AAP Newswire

Western Bulldogs coach Luke Beveridge has concerns about the mental wellbeing of players fighting for their AFL futures in quarantine hubs.

The AFL is expected to start cutting back list sizes next year as the league deals with the financial fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.

The majority of AFL clubs have been forced into extended interstate stays to complete the 2020 season and Beveridge says there are unique challenges that go with that.

Players outside the best-22 don't have the normal pathways to push their case for senior selection.

Instead of a reserves competition, clubs have been organising scratch matches between themselves to provide match practice for all players.

"As the season continues to roll on the boys who aren't playing senior footy and how disconcerting it is around their futures," Beveridge said.

"What list sizes look like, state league competitions for next year and the draft, there are peripheral things we need to be mindful of.

"It's critical for me having lots of conversations with individuals and talking to them about their mindset and how they're handling things emotionally."

Beveridge said he imagined all of the competition's 18 clubs would be dealing with similar difficulties.

"It's (anxiety) there every year, it's just different this time because they don't have their support networks around them outside of the club," he said.

"We've just got to manage it differently and together. There wouldn't be any club that hasn't got those challenges."

Beveridge believes Lachie Hunter is heading in the right direction as the premiership midfielder deals with personal issues.

Hunter will miss his fourth-straight AFL match, with the Dogs taking on Brisbane at the Gabba on Saturday night.

The 25-year-old was a solid contributor during two games after returning from a four-game suspension, but hasn't played since the Dogs' round seven smashing of Essendon.

"He's going through his own personal challenges and sometimes that presents physical challenges as well," Beveridge said.

"Just getting through training and pulling up cherry ripe to play is one of his ongoing challenges at the moment.

"He played in last week's scratch match so that's a (positive) sign."

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