The health and wellbeing of staff and players is at the forefront of West Coast senior coach Adam Simpson’s mind as the football industry and broader society deals with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
In the space of 24 hours, the Eagles went from gearing up to face Melbourne in their season-opener on Sunday to almost complete standstill after the AFL postponed the season until at least May 31.
“Pretty much the next day I had to sit down with 20 or 30 of our staff and tell them there was no work,” Simpson told 3AW.
“We’ve really moved on from the actual playing part and we’re onto health and wellbeing at the moment.
“From a personal leadership point-of-view we made sure we sat everyone down, looked them in the eye and told them what was going on.
“We are no different to anyone else in the community that is going through similar problems, it’s just we’re a bit more public.
“Dealing with income, leave and what is the right thing to do with government support we are no different to anyone else and don’t pretend to be above anyone.
“But normally when we hit crises it’s a really good environment to be a part of because we’re all in it together.
“Unfortunately, I’m making a lot of phone calls today to mates and staff members and just checking in. At the moment that’s all we can do.”
Many of Simpson’s phone calls have been to players, who as of Tuesday went their separate ways until being told it is safe to return to the club to resume training.
“I’ve spoken to players all day in regards to how they’re feeling, what’s the current situation they find themselves in,” Simpson said.
“It’s quite difficult for players at the moment because there is no certainty about where they sit.
“For staff you can give a little bit of direction for the short-term and let’s hope we get back on deck and start training and playing in a few weeks, although I don’t like our chances.
“But the players are still working through current reality and when I talk to them they show concern for, obviously, their teammates.
“So they’re looking at their young families, who they support financially and businesses they’ve got, all the things like that they’re thinking about and then they’re thinking about their teammates and how they might be affected and then of course they’re thinking about our staff as well.
“Very difficult times for everyone, and I think you can forgive a few people if it comes across the wrong way or you perceive them a certain way at the moment because there is so much uncertainty.
“These guys are in their 20s so they’re trying to work through things as best they can.
“Hopefully we all get through this and we get back to playing football and our society becomes like it used to be and we can’t wait for it.”