Taking a glass-half-full approach to being back in the bubble, Wayne Bennett has reminded NRL stars how fortunate they are to be playing rugby league during the coronavirus crisis.
Bennett's in-form South Sydney side faces Newcastle at Bankwest Stadium on Saturday and the super-coach says this week's tightening of social distancing restrictions was no excuse to drop the ball.
With a spike in positive COVID-19 cases in Sydney, and an alarming surge in Melbourne, NRL players have been ordered to train, play and go straight home.
"You can have all the bad moments and all the down thoughts that you want to have, but the bottom line is it's not going to change and so you have to adjust to it and just get on with it," Bennett said on Friday.
"We have a lot of biosecurity rules around us and I'm happy with all that and to make sure that we're making that work where we can.
"The rest of it, life has to go on for all of us in this country and whether it's rugby league players or people in the workplace, no one's protecting them in the sense that they've got to go to work every day to earn a living."
Bennett said he was more concerned about his players' mental health during the 10-week suspension of the 2020 season when the entire country, not just Melbourne, was in lockdown.
"I don't think we're under the stress that we were under when there was no football and when no one knew when it was going to start again," he said.
"The thing that we've got going for us is we get to be with our teammates on four or five days a week and we get to play football together and that's what we all want to do.
"It's the lifestyle we have to live right now. It's a choice that we all have to make and if we don't like that choice, we can just retire from football and go do something else."
Bennett is more concerned about his players' focus being on the Knights, who sit one spot above the Rabbitohs in sixth on the ladder after nine rounds.
"There's not much between both teams and it'll come down to who turns up tomorrow and who doesn't and that's always probably the biggest thing you worry about as a coach - who's going to be on their job and who isn't," he said.
The match is the first of at least 13 NRL and A-League fixtures at Bankwest Stadium in the next 28 days, but venue officials are confident the recent laying of a "winter-specific" surface will ensure its able to cope with the increased traffic.
STATS THAT MATTER * South Sydney mentor Wayne Bennett will become the first NRL coach to preside over 850 games, having won 526 of his previous 849 at a 61.9 per cent strike rate.
* Newcastle's 61.9 win percentage against Souths is exactly the same as Bennett's overall and the Knights' best against any current opposition.
* Souths have won each of the past eight games against the Knights when leading at halftime.