UNCERTAINTY has gnawed away at everyone in 2020, but it's hit Western Bulldogs defender Easton Wood from all angles.
The former skipper played in the round one loss to Collingwood before hitting the ground running in the COVID-19 shutdown.
ROUNDS 7-8 Check out the full fixture
Then just days out from round two, he strained his quad.
"It was certainly disappointing after doing 10 weeks of work and then I broke down in the main session two days before we played so it was a bit heartbreaking," Wood told AFL.com.au.
The 30-year-old only missed three games but the timing wasn't ideal, especially after he just started discussions with the Bulldogs about signing a fresh contract.
Talks were progressing well, with the length of the deal being one aspect that still needs to be ironed out, but that all stalled once the contract freeze period started.
THE LADDER Where is your team sitting?
"We were beginning the negotiation side of things early in the year, and obviously that's all had to be frozen," Wood said.
"That's frustrating, I'm a conservative kind of player and I know that there's nowhere else I want to be apart from this club.
"So the sooner I can get a deal done, I'm normally pretty quick to try and get that done.
"With my age now and I've got a pretty chequered injury history, the longer term deals are going to be harder to negotiate."
Wood is on the board of the AFL Players' Association and echoed the sentiments of Paul Marsh around lifting the contract freeze while time between games is condensed.
"We want to keep the competition alive, so it would be nice to have some certainty around your playing future," Wood said.
"If there's an ability that an employer has to remove some uncertainty, in this case your contract and security within the game, you absolutely have to do that.
"The AFL needs to come to the party and give us that certainty. It would alleviate the stress where possible."
The last thread of ambiguity around Wood's future came in the weeks preceding all Victorian clubs moving north.
The Bulldogs have a number of young fathers in the group that were seeking answers over whether they could bring their families up to Queensland for the initially planned four weeks.
The timeline has now blown out to 10 weeks, so it's fortunate that Wood was able to bring up his wife Tiff and daughter Matilda from the get-go.
"That was a real challenge. At that point we were unsure of what we were coming up to and unsure of what we would be leaving behind," Wood said.
There were talks that some players would stay behind if they wouldn't bring their families up, but Wood says once things were discussed thoroughly it was never really a chance.
ARE THEY GETTABLE? Meet 2020's 'pre-agents'
"It was more uncertainty, once there was a strong push from a few of the guys to have their family there and they knew they wouldn't be the only ones relocating their family," Wood said.
"If I was to bring up my wife and daughter on their own, in terms of socialising they'd feel really on their own just being around 40 guys."
Staff members flew up to Queensland without their families and players with partners had to leave them behind, but the Bulldogs have already put forth plans to bring them up.
It's costing the League a lot of money to relocate so many people, but Wood says it shouldn't be complicated.
"It should be if you want your partner here, they should be here, simple as that."