North Melbourne defender Jamie Macmillan will soon become the latest player to leave an AFL hub as he prepares for the impending birth of his first child.
Macmillan will join Geelong veteran Gary Ablett and Carlton's Liam Stocker in returning home for personal or family reasons.
St Kilda defender Nathan Brown returned to Victoria last week, announcing his retirement to players in an emotional letter.
Macmillan is likely to play in the Kangaroos' next two games, against Geelong and Melbourne, before he flies back to the Melbourne.
"I will be going home for the birth, whenever that is," the 28-year-old told the club website.
"She (wife Olivia) has been awesome for me, encouraging me to stay as long as I can.
"It looks like it will be sometime next week, so I'm trying to get in as many games as I can.
"It's my first kid and I want to be there. Everyone says it's one of the best moments of your life, and I don't want to miss that."
Macmillan, upon finding out last December he would become a dad, examined the Kangaroos' schedule and was pleased to see the due date fell in the pre-finals bye.
But the league has been forced to repeatedly rejig its fixtures because of the COVID-19 pandemic, which notably forced all 10 Victorian clubs to shift interstate last month.
Macmillan thanked coach Rhyce Shaw for his support.
"Shawry's had a number of conversations with me," he said.
"He's spoken about his experiences with his kids and said that it's not something you want to miss.
"To feel like you're sort of deserting the guys is a challenge."