Storm ace’s quarantine: ‘Pretty much prison’
Melbourne Storm star Brandon Smith has a 15-minute window, strictly chaperoned, each day to get fresh air outside while in hotel quarantine.
Smith went into lockdown in Melbourne last Friday after the 23-year-old returned from New Zealand to begin preparations for the NRL's mooted May 28 resumption.
After completing a three-hour screening process at Tullamarine, Smith was taken by bus to Crown Promenade.
"You're in the room and it is pretty much prison," Smith said.
"You open the door to get your food, that's the only time you can open the door.
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"People (some in bodysuits) sit in the hallways watching to make sure you don't come out.
"It's not too bad, honestly, I can do this for two weeks, but I don't know if I can do it for any longer."
The NRL hopes to get the NSW government's blessing for clubs to train from May 4.
Smith's 14-day quarantine is due to expire on May 2.
"I just want to play some footy, I'm going insane," Smith said.
"I'm usually hanging around 20 of my best mates and having a laugh every day and now I'm stuck here looking at a TV screen and four walls.
"I'd play tomorrow if I could."
Storm delivered Smith an exercise bike and modified program to use inside his hotel room.
"I've done about 90 kilometres in three days," Smith said.
"Just smash that out in 10km intervals and race myself.
"I've lost track of the hours, I'm going to sleep at 2pm and waking up at 10pm.
"It's a small price to pay, but you have got to do it, the season is coming back and I've got to be ready, I plan to do everything I can in here … to get out (on the field)."
Food was the biggest issue with the cost-effective standard meals afforded to quarantined guests not elite-athlete friendly.
"I was getting lots of chocolate so I had to nip that in the bud," Smith said, between mouthfuls of scrambled eggs and avocado for breakfast, with a side of fruit.
"I told the boys (hotel staff) I can't be eating the meals they're giving me, it's not their fault.
"Chocolate is a high energy source that's cheap to hand out to people, it's a good way to feed a lot of these people but it's not a good way to feed me because I'll get fat."
The only constant in Smith's life - eating, sleeping, cycling and PlayStation aside - is connection to the outside world through FaceTime and videoconferencing app Zoom.
"We don't want to lose our bond as a team over this little break," Smith said.
"It's awesome to have support from people like that, will ring you up and just check on you, that's what it's all about at this club and everyone having each other's back, it's pretty awesome."
As regimented as Smith has needed to be at hotel quarantine, on Saturday the 23-year-old plans to relent to a hankering for Chinese takeaway.
"First meal … something unhealthy with a tin of ice cream," Smith said.
Originally published as Storm ace's quarantine: 'Pretty much prison'