For Mt Druitt Town Rangers defender Blake Thompson, the lockdown is the perfect opportunity to put in the extra effort to take his game to a new level.
After an impressive start to the NPL New South Wales Men’s season, Thompson and co showed the rest of the league what the Rangers were capable of doing.
“We had an unbelievable start,” he explained.
“I think that the boys that have come together to play this year are a really good group of boys.
“I think we have a good, good range of a few young boys that really aspire to get to a high level, a few boys, like myself and a few older boys, that have all played at a high level that they bring experience to the team.
“As football goes you can’t always continually win and we went through a bit of a rough patch, which I think was good – it tests your mentality.
“Just before COVID hit, we got a few good wins in a row and got back up the ladder so hopefully all the boys have been doing quite a bit of work in this lockdown individually so when the season starts again, we’re just firing like we were.”
The positive mindset of the experienced defender is proving invaluable as the Sydney lockdown continues to be extended with fitness and improvement at the forefront of his mind.
“I’ve been working pretty hard off the pitch to be fair, doing quite a lot of work by myself in the gym… it’s been really, really helping on the pitch.
“My body probably hasn’t felt any better than it has my entire career.
“Even when I was playing overseas, I probably wasn’t in the shape, or felt the shape, I am now so it’s been super, the body feels really good.
“I do four sessions by myself on the pitch, getting some good kilometres in the legs doing some beach runs and some grass sprints and kind of just keeping the legs at full fitness.
“I’m just yeah trying to do as much as I can to keep stimulated, I’m not one to kind of sit around the house it’s very hard for me to stay still there.
“It’s been a bit tough in that sense you can only do so much in one day but a lot of going to the beach, a lot of training, a lot of coffees – I’ve had that many coffees it’s ridiculous just to get myself out of the house.”
The tight-knit Mt Druitt group have been keeping spirits high with plenty of entertainment coming from the group chat.
“We have a WhatsApp group that goes off quite a lot.
“We’re very close and there is a lot of banter thrown about.
“In my session today, I just filmed about three minutes of it, and I’ll just send it in the group… I’ll get ripped by half the boys but it’s just banter.
“I think what’s been really good is everyone still has super, super high positive vibes, which I think you need.
“As a team sport, you really need to keep the positivity high, especially when you’re not seeing each other and you’re not playing which is essentially what we love to do, so I think that’s been a really good thing.
“There’s never really a day where we don’t hear from someone in the group, which is good.
“Even for the future, too, I think everyone feels really, really positive about these next five or six games, and we’re still in the FA Cup, which we feel super positive about too, so for the team, there’s a lot for us to still look forward to and I think that plays a big part as well.”
-By Madeline Riley