The decision to delay Western Australia's border opening on Thursday night was "tough" and "upsetting" for AFL players in the state who are living away from family as they prepare for another season of uncertainty.
The Mark McGowan government last night called off plans to remove the State's hard border 16 days before the planned re-opening on February 5, citing the "unforeseen catastrophe" presented by the Omicron COVID-19 variant.
Fremantle midfielder Darcy Tucker said it was difficult news to hear for those players living away from family, but they understood the importance of keeping the community safe.
"As a Victorian it's pretty tough and I was a bit upset," Tucker said.
"A lot of us boys were planning to head back there. Not just Victorians but South Australians and every 'interstate' player.
"I'm a bit upset by it, but I back the WA government in and their goal is to protect the community, and we're all for that as well."
Tucker, who hails from Horsham in western Victoria, said he last saw his family in the stands at matches last season when the club was travelling, but only under social distancing restrictions and for short periods.
The 24-year-old had planned to visit family on January 31 for six days and return to Western Australia after the February 5 re-opening.
He said Fremantle players would discuss the changes as a group on Friday and look to turn their new situation into a competitive advantage if possible.
"There's going to be a lot we have to deal with and we have to handle it and wrap our arms around each other and be a family ourselves," he said.
"I'm sure we'll all handle that well and get around each other, because a lot of us are in the same position.
"We've had experience in it and we probably weren't expecting this season to be normal just yet.
"We'll see how we can get the best competitive advantage, because if we're able to handle it then it's going to help us have a good season."