Western Bulldogs star Josh Dunkley has said it was an extreme case of bad luck that forced him into 14-day isolation for being a Tier 1 contact to a positive case of COVID-19, revealing it was the first time in six months he had visited the café in question.
Dunkley will miss the Bulldogs' top-of-the-table clash with Melbourne this weekend after he was found to have visited a café at the same time as a positive case last Wednesday, before the team flew to Queensland on Thursday for the Round 18 clash with Gold Coast.
Speaking on the ESPN Footy Podcast, Dunkley said the café became a lockdown favourite in 2020, but that he hadn't visited for some time, describing the chance encounter with a COVID-positive diner as terrible luck.
"I used to go [to the café in question] very regularly. I used to go nearly every day last year in isolation. But I probably hadn't been there in about six months, so yeah, went there, and [it's come back to bite me]," the Bulldogs midfielder said.
"It's hard situation to be in, from just going to a local café as every normal person would, to find out I need to isolate for 14 days is not ideal but I'll listen to the government and do everything they say to come out the other side in good shape."
Dunkley said the person who tested positive was dining at the café with an approximate crossover time of half an hour - enough for him to be determined a Tier 1 close contact.
"So it at was about 10 o'clock last Wednesday morning I went to the café. So [my isolation period is] 14 days from exposure," he said on the podcast.
"Obviously I'd travelled to play to Queensland on the Thursday, then played on the Saturday afternoon and flew back. It wasn't until we flew back flew back late on Saturday night ... that I was just looking at the exposure sites, and I knew I was pretty close (to some areas of concern) and that I'd 'checked-in' as every good citizen does.
"Sure enough I got a message on Monday night (telling me to isolate), but I'd actually tested before that and tested negative because I thought I might had been there at that crossover point."
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Dunkley said the club was extremely supportive, especially considering he had only just played his first game in three months after dislocating his shoulder against the Giants earlier in the season.
"I rang the club on Sunday because I thought I might have crossed over [with the positive case], so I rang them and said this could happen. They said if you were certain you were there, you're probably going to have to isolate. They were pretty good with it - that's life these days, it's just a matter of abiding by the rules to help stop the spread of coronavirus."
And while it might have been a case of 'bad luck', the Bulldogs star doesn't buy into the belief that footballers need be staying away from public gathering such as rugby games, or local cafes.
"You see things in the media now and people are saying AFL players shouldn't be going to the rugby or going to the cafes. You've got to live a life. The government restrictions are government restrictions - the AFL players are living by them. I think if there was a situation where we had to fully lock down to keep the season going, we would."
As for when he'll be back on the park, Dunkley anticipates he'll miss only this week's clash with Melbourne, and he'll be right to go against the Crows.
"So I'll be out Wednesday 11.59pm next week, before our main session next Thursday," he said.