A year without football was a reality delayed as long as possible for Horsham's Ryan Kemp.
While other leagues across Victoria were pulling the pin on 2020, Kemp had been diligently preparing for a second VFL season with Werribee.
The VFL seemed determined to play a truncated competition, but were forced to bite the bullet on Wednesday and cancel the season, as Melbourne went into lockdown.
While disappointed to miss out on a year of football, Kemp said he was fortunate to be back home in Horsham and avoid the six-weeks of lockdown at his Melbourne residence.
"I've been back home for a while and luckily I'm still in Horsham," he said.
"I was meant to leave back to Melbourne on Friday. I wanted to wait as long as could, because I knew it wasn't looking great with the cases up there.
"I've been working back here, so I just wanted to make sure it was 100 per cent going to go ahead.
"It's a good result to stay out of all of that."
It is however unfortunate timing for Kemp's football career, after he found his feet in the latter half of his debut season with the Tigers.
"It is disappointing, especially after last year," he said.
"I started hitting some pretty good form, playing two finals, and then testing with (AFL club) Freo. I was feeling pretty good heading into the year.
"I was ready to kick off and have a really good start to the year and go from there."
Werribee also looked set for an excellent season.
After losing to Essendon by three points in last year's first semi-final, the Tigers added former AFL players Connor Menadue and Matthew Lobbe to the list.
"We had a lot of experience already, and added some more AFL players," Kemp said.
"Just looking at it from training and a few practice games we played, I think we would've been better than last year, and we weren't too far off it last year either.
"It is a shame."
Kemp said learning off players who had been in the AFL system was one of the highlights of playing VFL.
Menadue was on Richmond's list for both of their 2017 and 2019 AFL premierships, and played in the Tigers 2019 VFL flag.
"He gave us a bit of an insight into what Richmond does and how they operate, which is really cool," Kemp said.
Instead of playing football this year, Kemp said he would simply relax and try to enjoy his time back home.
"Now I'm playing VFL, it's almost all-year around football, so not playing at all will be different," he said.
"I'll just take it easy and try to make the most of it. Do some things I don't normally get a chance to."
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