There was at least one member of the Fremantle playing squad who was upset when the Dockers were denied entry to Tasmania last week.
Ulverstone's Alex Pearce.
When public health advice shut the door on the idea of Fremantle playing consecutive matches at Launceston's UTAS Stadium it robbed Pearce of a bonus chance to visit his home state as an AFL player.
The 26-year-old is preparing for his third outing for Fremantle at UTAS Stadium, with Saturday's match against Hawthorn set to be his fourth game in a row since returning from his opening round knee injury.
"It's been a while after playing a couple of games in my first couple of seasons, but it has been a big break since then [with his last visit being in 2016],'' he said.
"I love getting back to Tassie in any capacity, but for my friends and family to be able to watch me play will be really good. It has obviously been really hard to travel the past 12 months or so, so it is nice to be able to bring a game to my family, friends and community.
"I was a bit disappointed as it [two games in a row in Launceston] did look quite likely for a while, but there were a lot of guys who were keen to stay in Melbourne as we do have a few Victorians, so there weren't that many in my camp."
Stringing together consecutive games and building confidence from a physical point of view was, not surprisingly, an important moment for Pearce after his 2019 and 2020 ankle problems.
"When you are just watching and training and you don't get to experience that feel of game day and the competitiveness of game day, you get jealous and it is really hard to watch,'' he said.
"So it has been good and hasn't felt foreign at all as I have been able to fit back in and it is a good routine to be in to be able to play a game, recover and then prepare for the next and it is the position everyone wants to be in, even though it is a hard routine.
"It has been exciting to be able to front up and play, to get a couple of wins and try to improve, as that is definitely a better routine than the mundane training and rehab during the week."
While it has been a challenging, but familiar situation, Pearce admitted he was always confident he would be able to again adapt again to AFL life, with the former Devonport TSL player slotting straight back into a key defensive post and performing at a high level against the likes of Ben King and Harry McKay.
But there was one aspect of his approach that he admitted he needed to work on.
"I am continually fighting myself to embrace each week, as personally it is all quite serious for me and I need to continue to try tell myself to relax and try to enjoy things as I can get too serious and be almost too driven to do well and often the best recipe to having a really good performance is to have a level of calm and relaxation out there and enjoy it,'' he said.
"It is something I need to continue to work on as you do need that edge, but you also need that little bit of calm."
Saturday is set to be significant for Fremantle. Firstly, a win in Launceston [where it has a 1-11 record] will be vitally important for its finals quest, especially after last weekend's missed opportunity against Carlton for the 10th placed Dockers.
It will also be the 200th game for skipper Nat Fyfe, an occasion that Pearce believed would inspire the team.
"It is a very important day as playing 200 games is a hell of a lot, especially from my point of view of only playing 50-odd,'' Pearce said.
"While the Brownlows stick out, he has just been a consistently good player and such a tough competitor and a really great leader who has put the team first and has been really good motivator who has been able to get the best out of our young group as we try to find some success.
"I think the words before the game will be let's just honour Nathan by showing the effort he does each week as there is no-one more competitive than Nathan and I am hoping as a unit we can rally around that and just be a really hard team to play against and one that is super competitive."
- WHAT: Hawthorn v Fremantle
- WHERE: UTAS Stadium, Launceston
- WHEN: Saturday, 1.45pm.
- TICKETS: Ticketmaster