JAKE Lever doesn't know what he'll do if quarantine hubs become an AFL reality.
The Melbourne defender may not have to make a decision, with confidence rising for a season resumption without hubs – but AFL chief executive Gillon McLachlan is yet to rule them out.
What is known is the doomsday, worst-case scenario of 20 weeks out of 21 in hubs, which caused a mid-week kerfuffle, won't happen.
Short-term periods where clubs can play, say, five games in three weeks could still happen to help the season finish, although that may not be needed if the season continues by mid-June.
Lever and his wife, Jess, had their first child, Jace, 10 weeks ago, so there is plenty for them to weigh up.
The 24-year-old counts himself among the "lucky ones" in the coronavirus isolation period, given he's spent far more time with his son than he would have in normal circumstances.
But would he take Jess and Jace with him in a hub scenario, if the AFL approves family attendance?
If only for three weeks, then Lever says he would bring his family with him and pay for them if required. Any longer than that and he doesn't have an answer.
"I'm super torn," Lever told AFL.com.au this week.
"I want to get back playing footy as soon as possible, and I want everyone to be able to watch footy on TV while in isolation at home, but, on the other hand, I have to look after the health and especially the wellbeing of my family.
"If that's locking them away for a certain amount of time in a hub, you look at that and go, 'Is that going to be the best thing for my family, to be away from me for that period of time?'."
Lever isn't alone at Melbourne in starting a family this year.
Tom McDonald and his partner, Ruby, welcomed Bella into the world in January, while vice-captain Jack Viney's wife, Charlotte, is due to give birth in July.
Lever also pointed to experienced duo Nathan Jones and Neville Jetta, who both have school-aged children, which creates a different dilemma within the hubs debate.
"Your perspective on life changes (once you have a child) – every single father says it," Lever said.
"I go and train, and I can't wait to get home and see Jace's smile on his face.
"He's just started rolling over, from his stomach to his back, and I probably wouldn't have seen it if I was still doing the rigours and training of AFL footy.
"I miss going into the club every day and having face-to-face contact with people, which you take for granted, but it's been amazing to actually see Jase do those things, instead of probably watching him on video."
Lever's training buddy in the shutdown period is fellow Demon Sam Weideman but by next Friday they may have the green light to train in groups of 10.
That would be the next step to a competitive return as early as June.
In the meantime, Lever is in Bright, about 320km north-east of Melbourne, for the next few days at his wife's grandparents' home for a brief escape as football prepares to return.
"It's a delicate situation, and I'm sure the AFL, all the clubs and the players will come to an agreement," he said.
"It will work out, whether that's with hubs, or if it's safe enough for the borders to open up and it can be a similar situation to round one – that would be the ideal situation.
"I'm glad the AFL's taking time to make that decision, because I think it's a really important one."