FOR the best part of 30 week for the year we are travelling, playing and recovering.
All focused on that one game at the end of each week.
Next week at North Melbourne, we get a weekend break.
We'll train early in the week but from Thursday to Monday, the club has given us time off for our bye round.
It gives you that physical and mental release.
Count in four NAB Cup series matches and the two weeks prior for intra-club matches and we're focused on that one match each week until the end of the AFL season.
In the summer, while you're training hard during the day, you're still working more nine-to-five hours and still get your weekends off.
Our training load increases and weekends go about six or seven weeks out from the start of the season and anytime with your partners and family at weekends becomes second to football.
On top of training, you spend just as much time studying the opposition and watching clips to find any edge or room for improvement.
And there is community work.
That's how it is and I wouldn't go changing it for anything.
People might read this and think it's self-involved but your family understands this is our job — it looks after us and rewards us well.
But it's nice to have a break.
For the next three weeks, after this round, all teams will have a bye — right in the guts of the year.
It was tougher last season with an odd number of teams in the competition and byes dealt out randomly.
North Melbourne was one of two teams who had about 17 weeks between byes.
This time no team can gain a real advantage.
In years gone by, we would have really hard training sessions in a bye week given there was no game at the weekend.
We will still have an individual training program to do and a couple of swims but it won't be anything too strenuous.
Our club hasn't loaded us up.
They've given us some time off to recharge and refresh.
I'll probably have a look at a couple of games on telly at home to keep up with what is happening.
I'll also probably bring the family back to Ballarat for a couple of days and spend time with family and friends.
It will break up the season.
First we have to get past Hawthorn In Launceston today.
The media has been getting pretty stuck into them after their loss to Richmond last week.
I think it's only adding fuel to their fire.
They have been touted as a premiership contender and will be determined to bounce back strong.
It will be a challenge for us and a good challenge too - but I'd still much rather play Hawthorn after a 10-goal win to the Hawks than a 10-goal loss.
The past three weeks we've been pretty up and down.
You cannot afford to be up-and-down in a match against a team like Hawthorn. They will punish you.
Knowing the bye is next week helps a little mentally.
Our players would be sub-consciously aware we have an extra week to recover. Hawthorn does not.
You go out every game to play hard and win but it's almost a little reward knowing there is a rest coming up.
Lose and we have two weeks to try and rectify what happened.
Win and we can enter the break with momentum.