Tigers' Astbury finds purpose in isolation

Oliver Caffrey
Richmond defender David Astbury (r) enjoys quiet time with his father Craig at his farm in Raglan

Richmond's David Astbury never expected to be drinking beer around a campfire after spending the day cutting wood.

Maybe during the off-season, but certainly not in mid-autumn.

The Tigers were supposed to be building towards back-to-back flags following their dominant 2019 grand final victory over GWS.

As some players struggle to find purpose without football, the two-time premiership defender has been more than content, 250km to the west of Punt Rd.

He didn't hesitate in heading back home the day after the competition's postponement in March.

It's allowed him to connect with family like never before.

While Astbury has since returned to Melbourne eyeing an imminent restart of the season, the trip away has been nothing but a positive experience.

The 29-year-old has based himself in western Victoria, spending plenty of time at his father Craig's 360-acre farm near the small town of Raglan.

Not far away is his mother Kate.

"I thought that I would always have a silver lining (during isolation) and it presented itself initially in some lifestyle habits," Astbury told AAP.

"As time wore on, I spent more time with my mum at her block at the foot of the Grampians and my dad at his place in Raglan.

"That's turned out to be the best thing that happened to me over this period.

"My relationship with both of my parents individually has been awesome and I've loved the conversations that we've had."

Astbury has built up some farm fitness, while also managing a weights set-up the envy of plenty of footballers looking for motivation in lockdown.

One of Astbury's neighbours welded him a weights frame, squat rack and bench to keep up his strength work.

All his running sessions take place at the ground of his local club in Tatyoon, close to where he's purchased a property of his own.

While Astbury admits he's just a "townie" who's "never going to be a farmer", the 130-gamer has been able to learn some tricks of the trade.

"Doing some work with dad, cutting some wood and doing some cattle work; then having a beer with him after a long day turned out to be a really special time for me," he said.

"It's been 14 or 15 years since I have spent an extended period of time where I'm from in autumn."