K rock Football

Lockdown catches Windy out

North Shore co-coach Darren Winter. (Sports Media Image/Marcel Berens)

WHEN Darren Winter got on the plane in Hobart on May 27 ahead of North Shore’s scheduled Round 7 meeting with Leopold, the Seagulls co-coach didn’t expect to still be in Geelong nearly a fortnight later.

However, between Tasmanian-based Winter departing the Apple Isle and landing in Melbourne, the Victorian Government had announced a seven-day lockdown as the state’s COVID situation worsened.

As a response, Tasmania closed its borders to anyone in Victoria who didn’t arrive before 2pm that same day.

With flights either fully booked or cancelled and facing a 14-day quarantine if he arrived following the cutoff, Winter found himself with no option to remain in Geelong.

“I was thinking I was going to come over for three days, and now it’s up to 12 days, and it doesn’t look like that’s going to change in the short-term,” Winter said.

“I got on the plane, and there wasn’t a lot of people on the plane, and I thought that wasn’t a good sign.

“I got off and checked the phone, and sure enough, there was a lot of talk about the lockdown coming.

“I did try to get on another plane to get straight back out, but they were either booked out, or they’d been cancelled.”

Winter will now wait until a decision later this week on whether matches will be played in the GFL on Saturday before deciding whether to remain in Victoria or return home and undertake 14-day quarantine.

However, it’s a situation he’s keen to avoid, especially if the season was to recommence during that time.

“I’m going to have a chat with Peter Gutwein, the (Tasmanian) premier, and see if he could lift that (quarantine) for a special friend,” Winter joked.

“I don’t think that’s going to happen.

“Hopefully, Peter will lift those restrictions against country Victoria, and I can get home and see the family.”

Winter owns the aptly named Windy’s Bakehouse in Lauderdale, which he has left in the capable hands of daughter Keely.

“She normally takes over when I’m not there,” he said. “She’s very handy with what she does – she manages the place anyway.

“I talk to her 2-3 times a day to see where we’re at with everything.

“She’s more than capable of handling that while I’m away.”

Winter has used his time in Geelong to good effect, spending time with family while further ingraining himself back at Windsor Park after more than 30 years away.

“I’m here pretty much full-time at the moment, which is really good for me to get around the boys a little bit more,” he said.

“We’ll go through a bit more game structure and game sense that we want to get in place and do a lot more review of the games.

“That’s been one of the bonuses for me.”

Twitter: @tom_king79