“That bubble, it was tough,” Josh Dugan began in an interview on the Chad Townsend Show, a podcast produced and hosted by the Sharks premiership-winning halfback.
“For me personally, I felt jittery, I felt isolated.
“You’ve got all your teammates, you can spend time with them during the day and at training, but then you can’t go out, can’t see your in-laws, your family.
“I had family come up for my 200th game and they weren’t even allowed to stay with me,” Dugan said.
With the bubble restrictions Dugan had to greet his loved ones from inside the confines of the playing field, family and friends at a distance outside the fence, in what was one of the many challenges facing the players during the 2020 season.
“And I hadn’t seen my family for six months,” he added.
While many downplayed the season just completed, suggesting the winners perhaps didn’t deserve the credit of past champions due to the structure of the competition, Dugan had another opinion.
“Everyone said there should be an Asterix (against the winning team), I said, no way, there should be a golden star.
“For Melbourne to be on the Sunny Coast all year and to win a comp, was a great feat,” Dugan said.
The pair went on to cover a range of other issues, from Dugan’s much-talked about knee injury, to social media and the impact that it can have on young players, the knowledge he has attempted to pass onto some of his rookie teammates and how he has evolved from his days at Canberra, to the player he is today.
Dugan also spoke of his time in the NSW Origin arena, what occupies him away from training and playing, his commitment to charity initiatives, as well as opening up on the struggles he has had with mental health, detailing his stint in a Thai rehab facility and the strategies he has implemented to be his best self.
Townsend also presented him with a series of fan questions, with Dugan answering openly and honestly.
It was an entertaining and all-encompassing chat between the two veteran Sharks, with the pair due back at training next week, along with others from the senior group such as Aaron Woods, Mat Moylan, Wade Graham and Braden Hamlin-Uele.
“The dreaded day one,” Dugan and Townsend laughed, with their first session scheduled for next Wednesday.
The full Chad Townsend Show podcast, featuring Josh Dugan is now playing and available by accessing the following channels.