First-year Magpie Jay Rantall is using the AFL's coronavirus-enforced hub situation to build relationships with his Collingwood teammates.
The endurance specialist, who is working towards a debut, had spent four months at the club before the season was put on hold in March.
He returned to Warrnambool during the isolation period before the AFL resumed training in June.
Rantall, 19, has since boarded a plane for interstate hubs, expected to be in place until the end of the home-and-away season.
"It's actually been quite enjoyable. There's been a lot of positives in it," he told The Standard.
"I think going away and being away for such a long time with just the team and even the staff that's come along, you're able to create connections with them which, for me, is very fortunate because that break in iso meant a lot of the stuff was put on hold and as a first-year player it's pretty important."
Rantall and his teammates are now free to explore Western Australia after spending 14 days in quarantine.
The Magpies will play Fremantle at Optus Stadium on Sunday night before relocating to Queensland.
"It's pretty cool. I hadn't been to Sydney and I hadn't been to Perth so to spend a fair bit of time here is pretty good and then to be up on the coast Queensland way for the last few weeks that will be nice as well," he said.
"I think it (hub life) a lot better than the alternative. It's definitely not what I expected but it's quite enjoyable.
"We did 14 days at Joondalup Golf Golf resort. It was basically quarantine but probably the best way you could do a 14-day quarantine.
"But you still have that craving to get outside and there was a bit of cabin-fever but we've moved into Perth now and it's a bit more inner city. We're allowed to go out and walk again which is great."
Rantall, who is living with rising star winner Jaidyn Stephenson, said he'd used the trip to bond with his teammates and "learn about them as people, their backgrounds and where they've come from".
"The great thing is I have become close with a lot of players, not just the younger guys but a fair few of the older guys and the guys in their mid-to-late 20s too," he said.
"It's been the best going away in this hub, it's really helped form friendships.
"There was a lot of things I learned in that isolation period with my family too - not taking things for granted and always remaining positive.
"I have a better outlook on life now and I've felt that it's made me a lot happier."
On the field the former Australian junior basketballer is developing via AFL-sanctioned scratch matches in the absence of a 2020 VFL season.
The ball-winning midfielder said he'd embraced the unique situation.
"We don't (officially) score but we always keep score and we haven't lost one," he said.
"A lot of the boys are bringing really good attitude and it's actually been really enjoyable not having a scoreboard (while you're playing).
"It's also quite funny - I found myself in an Essendon guernsey for a quarter and West Coast jersey for a quarter to make up numbers and I don't think I've done that since I first started playing footy in my under 12 days.
"It just makes you laugh. It comes back to (this season) being nothing like I expected but hopefully one day I will be able to tell the story of what happened."
An AFL debut could be on the cards given the condensed season which features 33 matches across 20 days.
But Rantall remains task-focused.
"I am trying to stick to the process and know that one day it hopefully will come," he said.
"I try to prepare every week to play my best at whatever level of footy that is.
"I know if I stay true to myself and keep working and preparing like I am and learning off the people around me I will be good to go.
"I don't want to think too far ahead selection-wise...if my name is called hopefully I am able to play my role for the team the best I can."
Until then, Rantall will keep on smiling. He knows he's in a privileged position.
Many of his Victorian-based mates have no competitions to play in this year due to COVID-19 concerns.
"I am always thankful to wake up and do what I do for a living," he said.
"I know how lucky I am that I am able to play footy. If I wasn't in situation I am in, I might not play sport for 12 months."