Rebels captain Dane Haylett-Petty has returned to Perth to be more of a hands-on help to his family amid the coronavirus shutdown.
Haylett-Petty, who grew up in Perth and played for the Western Force before joining the Rebels in 2018, returned to be closer to his family as border restrictions tightened in recent weeks.
With no resumption date for Super Rugby or rugby of any kind, the Rebels allowed their interstate players to return home if they chose and Haylett-Petty took up that option.
“I headed back before they announced the lockdowns, the state lockdowns,” he said.
“The Rebels decided that since we weren’t sure how long it was going to be, it was better for the boys to get back to their families, which is really good of them.”
Returning home gave Haylett-Petty a chance to help his family out on a practical level as well as the comfort of being nearby.
Haylett-Petty, his sister, Sarah and his partner, Hannah, run a health food drive thru in Perth while his mother, Margie, runs a small business as well as caring for Haylett-Petty's grandmother with her sister.
With older people considered particularly vulnerable and being generally advised not to go out, Haylett-Petty felt he could help his family ensure their wellbeing.
“Everyone’s in a different situation but thought I could be a bit more help if I went home," he said.
“My sister’s got a business and mum’s got a business so I wanted to help out and share some of the load and let Mum spend a little bit more time away from the business as well.”
Haylett-Petty is seeing firsthand the impact the pandemic is having on local businesses given his situation.
Though he feels fortunate that their business is already well-equipped to handle the increasing restrictions, he said it was a time for them to look to adapt.
"I think we’re going through all the same sorts of things as other businesses, trying to make sure we can keep staff on, think outside the box, looking into different options with delivery and that kind of thing," he said.
Haylett-Petty isn’t sure yet when he will go back to Melbourne but the fullback is working to ensure he maintains close connections with teammates and coaches throughout the season suspension.
“We’ll reassess after two weeks and we’ll touch base as the Rebels and see where we’re at and just try and figure out when we’ll all come back together,” he said.
“At the moment it’s just a wait and see, things are changing so fast, there’s a new scenario every day.
“I think the Rebels are doing good things, keeping the structure up as much as possible.
“Most mornings we’ll have a zoom call, touch base, check in with physios and then all go do our running programs.
“The gym programs are a little bit different because everyone’s in a different situation but we’re just trying ot keep a bit of structure and keep that connection between the group.”
With fellow Rebel and younger brother Ross remaining in Melbourne after ankle surgery, Dane is training on his own in Perth, running in a nearby park and making use of a garage gym made up of equipment he has leased from his high school, Perth’s Hale School.
Training solo is a new thing for Haylett-Petty and many of his fellow professional rugby players used to spending most days around more than 30 squad mates.
Australia’s players are still awaiting news of their pay structure this year with talks between Rugby AU and RUPA still dragging on but Haylett-Petty said he was keeping their situation in context.
“We’d like to hear some scenarios, which apparently will be pretty soon,” he said.
“No matter what, we’ve got to kind of keep the perspective that this is happening in every industry.
“The boys are training pretty hard and staying pretty positive.
“The tough bit is not having a day to work towards and a preseason and holidays, it’s just a little bit open-ended.”
Haylett-Petty said that uncertainty was the most difficult thing in a profession where weeks are normally planned down to the hour.
The longer the separation continued, he said, made it all the more important to ensure they checked in on one another regularly.
“I do think the longer it goes on, the more important it is to check in on the boys and make sure everyone’s going alright,” he said.
“Everyone’s enjoyed the change and training and mixing things up, it’s a bit of a grind training on your own or in twos so you’ve just got to keep motivated and keep the boys motivated.”
This article doesn't represent the views of Rugby Australia or its affiliated state and member unions.