Five-time Perth Wildcats championship coach Trevor Gleeson has warned Australian athletes to start thinking about their plan for avoiding COVID-19 after four months living in Canada as a NBA assistant coach with the Toronto Raptors.
Australian sport has already experienced COVID chaos as the country opens up, with Test cricket captain Pat Cummins unable to play in Adelaide, Perth Glory’s team forced into isolation in Queensland and multiple other sports having games postponed, relocated or training sessions impacted.
The Raptors have had two games postponed in the last week due to their opponents having too many players in COVID protocols and are no longer holding full-team practice sessions.
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Gleeson said the players and coached understood the importance of being wary when in public.
“it’s just being smart when you go out,” Gleeson told thewest.com.au’s The Dribble Podcast.
“If you go to a restaurant you will go to a restaurant where there’s not many people sitting close by. You’ve got masks on. Everyone wears a mask everywhere they go inside.
“We’re pretty much at practice with the mask on everywhere. Only the players don’t have masks exercising.
“You’re mindful of it. You don’t go in to put yourself in harm’s way. You’re going to get it at some stage you would think with the pure numbers. You’ve just got to be smart and make sure you’re washing your hands, staying your distance and wearing a mask.”
Gleeson had his booster shot last week, is tested twice before each practice and requires more tests every time the Raptors fly in and out of Canada.
But he is enjoying every moment of his first season in the NBA and the joy of working with and against the best players in the world at some of the game’s iconic venues hasn’t diminished.
Having started the season as the Raptors’ offensive coach, Gleeson is now focusing on defence as part of the Head Coach Nick Nurse’s rotation policy.
Gleeson said the chase for success never stops during the NBA’s packed schedule.
“It’s pretty full on,” Gleeson explained.
“Leading into the next game obviously I’ve got to watch the opposition, come up with a game plan to play against them, put the strategies in place for the personnel and how we’re going to defend people.
“In-game, make the adjustments and recommendations. Then post-game you do quite a comprehensive review so we have it for next time we play against them. Then you’re moving onto the next game.”
*Meanwhile the NBL have released the fixture from rounds 7-9. The Wildcats will play Illawarra on January 16, Tasmania on January 23 and Sydney on January 30.
That has left the door open for them to return home having played five home games and six away games when the WA border opens on February 5.