CARLTON co-captain Sam Docherty says anyone contemplating football being part of their future should at least be giving those plans a rethink during the industry shutdown.
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The star defender had long planned to move into an assistant coaching role once his playing days ended but now admits he has "started to second guess" whether to pursue that path.
Docherty's had a tough run since being an All-Australian in 2017, with successive ACL setbacks sidelining him for the past two years before the coronavirus pandemic put this AFL season on hold.
He's seen first-hand the devastating impact on the competition, with players accepting a pay cut and coaches not only stood down but made redundant in certain cases.
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The Northern Blues' demise in the VFL, saw coach and former Collingwood and Gold Coast ruckman Josh Fraser lose his job.
"It's probably been the first time for a number of years where I've started to second guess whether footy is my sole future after I finish playing," Docherty told RSN radio.
"I always thought I'd go into coaching, and an assistant coaching role, but it's definitely been the first time in a long time that I've reassessed whether that's going to be the actual path – and whether that's going to be a viable plan.
"I can't make too many decisions based off at the moment.
"We don't know exactly what the footy landscape is going to look like and how we're going to return and how the whole league's going to return, whether there are going to be as many coaches or less or whatever it's going to look like.
"(But) I think anyone who was viewing football as a future would have to have a long think, and think about other alternatives if that's not going to be the path you're going to go down."
At the same time, Docherty feels increasingly confident that the 2020 AFL season will not only resume at some stage but that the slated 17 rounds and finals will be completed.
"I think everyone's getting the same sense, with the trend we're in at the moment – it's definitely a positive one, in terms of the coronavirus," he said.
"So that's pointing in the way we should be able to get out there and play, (and) provided we can get out there early enough, we should be able to get it away.
"I know there are going to be some logistical challenges, but I'm hearing (positive signs) in terms of the confidence of the AFL to be able to get this thing running and get through the season."
Docherty said everyone must be "flexible" and that trust needed to be placed in AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan, the AFL Commission and AFL Players' Association boss Paul Marsh.