It's been a long-time between drinks for Melbourne City but with their season finally set to resume against Sydney FC on Saturday, spearhead Jamie Maclaren now wants some reward for the sacrifices the squad have made.
City went into quarantine in Sydney with Melbourne Victory and Western United on July 11 before relocating to the Hunter Valley last Saturday. Guaranteed to be playing finals and with the Victorian borders shut, it means that City players won't see their families until at least late August.
Players, like the rest of society, have already seen their lives uprooted by COVID-19 - Maclaren had been engaged to be wed on May 30 - and their hub-based end for the final three games of the regular season is set to present more challenges.
City captain Scott Jamieson’s wife is heavily pregnant back in Melbourne, while Rostyn Griffiths's arrival in Sydney was delayed due to family reasons.
“I’m not going to lie, it’s tough,” said Maclaren. “Everyone has their own individual situation. Jamo [Jamieson] and Griffo [Griffiths] the most severe ones in our team, having to leave behind loved ones.
“It’s not an easy situation, I had to leave my partner for god knows how long and she’s alone in Melbourne by herself. It’s difficult but as I said, everyone across the league, it’s a credit to them because not only on top of that we’ve had salary cuts and things like that to get this league underway.
“I think it’s a huge credit to everyone involved in the A-League – we do it for the good of the game.”