GV exports find positives of AFL shutdown

By Alex Mitchell

Two of the Goulburn Valley's finest footballers are finding the positives as they patiently await the AFL's return.

Euroa's Will Hayes and Shepparton's Jarman Impey have headed back to their hometowns for the coronavirus-forced isolation period, with Australia's top football league currently suspended until at least May 31.

While the delay has allowed Hawthorn's Impey extra time to recover from a ruptured ACL suffered in round 18 last season, Hayes is back at the family farm they call Lindsay Park, playing trainer at the powerhouse stables.

With twin brother JD his kick-to-kick buddy, Hayes will have no trouble finding room to roam on the monstrous property, and will even get the chance to continue learning the family business as the racing industry continues to function through the coronavirus pandemic.

“At the minute, unbelievably, racing is business as usual, so I’d come up here expecting racing to be called off and that we’d have to send all our horses to the paddocks and that would be quite hands on,” Hayes told SEN.

“But at the moment I’m just living the dream playing trainer, we’ve still got all our staff working, so I’m not necessarily needed. I’m just sitting in the house drinking coffee watching all the quick ones come up the hill.”

Rather than struggling for room to keep active, Hayes’ bigger problem is not disturbing the farm's prized assets through his training routines.

“I’m pretty much just running around the farm. It was actually quite funny the other day, we had to do some agility work and I was giving it a bit of a go, and there were these two fillies jacking up in the paddock next to me,” Hayes said.

“Between sets I had a bit of a closer look and it turned out it was one of our best fillies called Personal. I thought ‘oh Jesus’ and quickly moved a couple of paddocks down and continued what I was doing before I sent her through a fence.

“It’s been good, there’s plenty of hills for me to work on, so I'm pretty sure I'm going to come back in good nick because if the country goes into lockdown and none of the boys are allowed out of the house I’ll still have a bit of room to run.”

Meanwhile, Impey has also headed to a farm, at a 10-acre property of a family friend.

The 24-year-old told Seven News he was loving life back in the sticks.

“If I wasn’t playing footy, I’m living the dream pretty well at the moment, it’s just been floating around out on the farm, nice sunsets,” Impey said.

“It’s a bit of a blessing for myself, these four weeks off in isolation, I’m just going to try and run and get fit.

“Postponing the season is hopefully going to help me, everything has gone really well and training has gone really well. My knee is really strong and fit.

“It’s good that I’ve got people like this I can lean on, in this time I can relax and get myself right and give myself the best chance to play early in the season.”