Richmond star Trent Cotchin and his family were on the brink of leaving the AFL’s Queensland hub in order to return to his family, coach Damien Hardwick says.
The Tigers captain ultimately elected to ‘stick fat’ in the hub after he and wife Brooke Cotchin were subjected to intense scrutiny after her visit to a Queensland day spa, which broke the AFL’s strict biosecurity rules.
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The visit ultimately cost the Tigers a hefty financial penalty, but head coach Damien Hardwick confirmed on Tuesday that the ordeal had prompted the club captain to reconsider whether remaining in Queensland was in their best interest.
“There was a conversation at one stage,” Hardwick said.
“Trent is a family man, (he) will always do what’s best for his family.
“We are very much a club that is aligned to those values. We won’t ask a person to put themselves above their family.
“You know, Trent had some decisions to make and he’s very supportive of his family as we are supportive of Trent.
“But the reality is you sort of look at the conditions we’re in.
“We are very fortunate to be in better conditions than most in Victoria but probably 90 per cent of the people up here at some stage have gone ‘look, it’s hard’.
“I probably would think about going home (in that situation).
“But the reality is Trent has stuck fat, his family has stuck fat, they’ve been incredible up here and we are incredibly supportive of both of them.”
Brooke Cotchin details abuse after virus breach
The saga also took a turn when the AFL decided to stand reporter Mitch Cleary down when he published her post on social media, which prompted an outpour of frustration in the community.
Brooke was largely silent on social media ever since her public apology and defence of journalist Mitch Cleary.
She offered an apology in her post, and said she and Trent had agreed to pay the fine on Richmond’s behalf.
But now, Brooke has opened up on the ‘vile’ abuse she received after the breach.
“It was a really hard time for not only me but our family,’’ Cotchin told The Herald Sun.
“I was in a very bad place for a little while and it took some time to dig myself out.
“Dealing with the lengths of the online bullying was and is something I am learning to try and block out. Some of the vile comments and personal messages were gut wrenching and it breaks my heart that people deal with this on a daily basis.”
Brooke has remained in the Queensland quarantine bubble with Trent and their three children.
In a social media post she offered a public apology for her spa visit.
“I wish to apologise for the mistake I have made and I am deeply sorry for any angst that I have created for anyone,” she wrote.
“It was an honest mistake and one that I am incredibly remorseful for.”