His AFL career has been a stop-start one so it is no surprise Gold Coast’s Ben Ainsworth was far from thrilled when the season was suspended.
Ainsworth made just 12 appearances for the Suns in 2019 as he battled knee and foot injuries.
Having regained his fitness, the 22-year-old was feeling confident of a full season after playing in the Suns’ round-one loss to Port Adelaide in March.
Then COVID-19 forced the competition into shutdown and Ainsworth found himself kicking his heels once more, this time despite being fully fit.
Putting aside his disappointment, the player has been able to put his frustrations into perspective during the lockdown period.
“After a couple of weeks of isolation it was just thinking what could’ve been but on the other hand you’re in a pretty privileged position at the moment just to be able to keep your job,” he told AAP.
“There’s a lot of people out there that don’t have a job so you’ve got to keep things in perspective.
“We’re coming back to a job, so I’m pretty happy about that.”
Having spent most of last year in midfield, Ainsworth is expecting to push into the forward line in 2020, starting with Saturday’s clash against West Coast at Metricon Stadium.
The overall goal of getting though a full season remains his key priority, despite the disruption.
“In the off-season, one of my goals was just to play 22 games or 23 games and finals hopefully,” said Ainsworth, whose 16 appearances in 2018 remains the most from his three AFL campaigns.
“Just to get through and find some consistency in my football and in my body as well. That’s where I can improve and I’m doing all the right things to do that.”
The news is less positive for two of Ainsworth’s teammates after midfielders Anthony Miles and George Horlin-Smith picked up injuries in an intra-club match last Friday.
Miles is facing up to four weeks out with a hamstring injury while Horlin-Smith is sidelined for an indefinite period after hurting a foot in a tackle.
Key recruit Brandon Ellis (calf) will also sit out Saturday’s clash with the Eagles.