After a two-goal effort at Mars Stadium in 2019, Western Bulldogs young gun Pat Lipinski was looking forward to coming back to Ballarat in 2020.
Ten months on, he could hardly be further from it. The 21-year-old is in his second week of quaranteen with his Bulldogs teammates on the Gold Coast.
The hotel has a pool but it is hardly a holiday. Like many in the squad, Lipinski said goodbye to his family and girlfriend to play out the remainder of the season in an AFL hub.
With COVID-19 sweeping through Melbourne, Lipinski said it's hard being away from loved ones, but understands the need to be playing footy.
"I think most people are happy to be playing. We are fortunate to still have a job and provide people, whose lives might not be going so well, with joy on the weekends," he said.
"It will all get back to normal in a few years hopefully and we'll all appreciate what we've got a lot more I think."
Despite being miles away, time spent within the hotel is not so different from home. With many older players bringing their families up north, the mood has taken on a familiar atmosphere.
"Everyone who has kids had the option to bring up their kids, so there is a lot of young families and it's been a fun time during dinners which makes it feel a bit more home-like," Lipinski said.
It's by no means normal however, which might be partly to blame for the Doggies' inconsistent start to the season.
Humid conditions have proved a challenge, making clean football hard to come by. But it's not all bad.
With the two-week quarantine period almost at an end, and the with the beach calling, things Lipinski said things could be worse.
The squad will also have a great opportunity to get its season back on track on Friday, when it takes on Essendon outfit at Metricon Stadium.