By the time State of Origin is over Cody Walker will not have cuddled his two kids for almost four weeks, but the pandemic has already taken something special from him in 2020.
The 30-year-old was set to marry his long-term partner Nellie Bell on Friday week, but the pair decided to postpone their wedding with the hopes that when they rescheduled it they'll be able to dance.
It proved a stroke of luck considering the nuptials would have fallen right in the middle of Origin camp - just two days after game two in Sydney.
And it's not that Walker is complaining about playing Origin again - he's thrilled at being recalled to the side - he just wanted to give Nellie the wedding she deserves after such a tumultuous year.
"We had to cut our list down and we just thought if we're not going to have the wedding that we'd hoped for, and the wedding my partner had always dreamed of, then there's no point in having one," he told AAP.
"With the COVID protocols we weren't allowed to dance and we would have had to have a sit down wedding, and that's not us.
"We're not really a formal couple, we want to be up partying and dancing.
"We just thought it was best just to postpone it until a more suitable date.
"I really feel for her because she really wants to get married. She's keen for the celebrations and everything, but we had to make the call a couple of months ago."
But if all goes to plan, moving the wedding and having no contact with his family will all be worth it to hold up the Origin shield in Brisbane on November 18.
State of Origin teams in biosecurity bubble
Both Origin sides will be in their biosecurity bubble until the end of the Origin series, unable to see family and friends unless at games, and even then, there's no touching.
Facetime is a godsend for the dads in the group, but it's hard to explain to young kids why they can't be cuddled or come onto the field.
For the handful of players who have kids in the Blues side, it's a mentally demanding time, but a worthwhile sacrifice in the long run.
"I've never really been away from my kids this long before so it's quite tough," Walker said.
"I have a nine year old and a six year old and they sort of understand which is quite good.
"They love footy, they love the Blues so my oldest fella sort of gets it.
"But Facetime is our number one friend at the moment.
"I miss the cuddles. I'm really cuddly with my kids.
"I'll be sleeping with them for the next couple of weeks."
Walker's partner Nellie plays for South Sydney's women's side and understands the sacrifices that need to be made for the game.
But it's given them all a greater appreciation of what the Warriors went through to keep the NRL season running.
"They did it for months, we'll only do it for three or four weeks," he said.
"I always appreciated what they did but this has magnified it so much."
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