2020 is Sam Collins’ first year in an AFL leadership group, and it’s been far different than what he could have expected.
Collins was voted in by his teammates in March, just a month before the COVID-19 pandemic swept the nation.
The 25-year-old said it was a big task to step up and lead during the competition-wide shutdown period, but backed his natural style to keep the SUNS playing group engaged.
“It’s been pretty challenging for me in my first year (as a leader),” Collins told SUNS Media on Macca’s Minute.
“For me it was just making sure I’m touching base with as many boys as I can.
“Personally training to a really high standard then bringing another person along with me as my partner so we can have a quality session together.
“It’s probably more that genuine care and checking in and making sure everyone’s going alright because it is a difficult time for a lot of people.
“It was difficult for me but I learnt a lot in terms of being a leader and how to lead in that kind of a setting.”
The key defender was excited to be back training with his teammates on Monday.
It was a different look to a standard training session though, with players split into groups of eight or fewer for drills that are not allowed to include contact elements.
“The defenders group was split in two and we prepped over at Metricon then we had the other group over at the club,” Collins said.
“We came out here and had half the field each and are just getting back into it.
“A lot of activation to start with and then some really good intensity in terms of some ball out of defensive 50 drills.
“I thought it was a really good session and the boys trained really well.”
Part of the return to training protocols also require the players to undergo daily body temperature checks before gaining access to the facilities.
That is on top of the already stringent social restrictions being enforced to ensure the competition can resume on time.
Collins said it took some adjusting but was a necessary precaution to take.
“(We’re just) making sure we’re in two separate facilities, so we’ll be in the Academy gym today and they’ll be in the Austworld Centre gym,” he said.
“And then it’s just general hygiene and making sure we’re all over that.
“We’re complying and keeping our social distancing but it’s business as usual.”