North Melbourne AFL player Shaun Atley has had no shortage of fierce training partners while in lockdown.
Apart from the Kangaroos’ Arden St headquarters, the most competitive place Shaun could be is at his family’s farm.
Joining him at the Corop property during the AFL season shutdown are his brothers — Joe, who plays for Port Adelaide, and Essendon VFL-listed Jacob.
“This time of year I never really get back home, so to be able to go back and spend time with family is pretty special,” Shaun said.
“There’s a footy oval in town, but we’ve got enough space on the farm to be able to do some running sessions.
“We’ve got a dirt track down the paddock that goes for a couple of kilometres, so you can do most of the running there.
‘"We’ve got a bit of a home gym set-up as well, so more than enough for training.”
Helping Kangaroos players put in the hard yards has been coach Rhyce Shaw, who has undertaken the same training program.
While it started off as a laugh seeing the coach — who is five years retired from the AFL — try and keep up with North’s endurance beasts, the fun quickly ended.
“The first couple of weeks we got eased into the program with pure running, but I think because Shawry was doing it he thought it was a bit easy, so by the third week we got smashed,” Shaun said.
While uncertainty surrounds the season’s resumption, North entered the competition suspension buoyed by a rousing comeback victory against St Kilda.
‘"All we can do is keep being hopeful (of restarting), but it’s definitely been a bit up and down with the motivation levels just not knowing when we are starting,” the 198-gamer said.