At a glance:

  • Jimmy Webster talks about his experience during the AFL's suspended season on the latest episode of St Kilda's new documentary series, 'The March'.
  • The 26-year-old picked up work as a carpenter thanks to a helping hand from a mate.
  • 'The March' details the fallout from the AFL's shutdown in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, and how the Saints have fought on.

When COVID-19 hit, no-one was immune.

As pay cuts swept through the AFL industry, many Saints players, coaches and officials were forced to find alternative work to keep afloat and support their families.

While some sorted mail and others returned home to tend their family farms, Jimmy Webster picked up the tools.

“I didn’t really expect anything like that to happen, so I never saw it coming,” Webster said on the latest episode of St Kilda’s new documentary series, The March.

Then with the pay cut and that sort of stuff, it was pretty scary at the time.

- Jimmy Webster

“There’s obviously as lot of people out there that are doing far worse than us, but at the end of the day we’ve all got mortgages as well, so I’m lucky I’ve got a mate that’s taken me under his wing and I’ve been able to do a bit with him.”

Webster was working towards his Cert. III in carpentry when the season shut down in late March.

A helping hand from a mate allowed the rebounding defender to pick up work as a carpenter and continue to pay the bills, but the demands of an elite footballer – even with serious doubt around the validity of Season 2020 – remained.

17:09 Mins
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The March | 2. Shutdown

It's official: footy's off. Seemingly overnight, the world goes into lockdown. COVID-19 moves swiftly, and St Kilda is not immune. A mass stand-down of staff, a fight for our future, a battle for survival ensues.

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Running sessions before the sun had even risen, gruelling rehabilitation training and a demanding fitness program, all while working full-time, would test anyone’s resilience.

But Webster remained steadfast in the hopes the season would eventually get back underway.

“We start work at 7am, so I’m up about 5:30 running and training,” Webster said.

“It’s pretty much been pitch-black dark, so that’s been a little bit hard, and then going to work for a full day has been pretty solid.

“You don’t really think about that as a footballer – organising your lunch the night before and getting tools and stuff ready – so it’s been very different.”

Jimmy Webster back out on the training track. Photo: Corey Scicluna.

For the 26-year-old, the past two years have unfolded in a way no-one would have expected.

Hand and back injuries throughout Season 2019, compounded by the league shutdown and non-selection, has seen Webster parked on the sidelines for over a year.

Now, with a vastly different season back underway, Webster has his sights firmly set on a return.

“I haven’t played since about Round 8 last year, so it was obviously pretty hard, and then to come out this year and I haven’t played a game yet, it’s been difficult,” Webster said.

“But every AFL player wants to play footy, so yeah, I just want to be back out there playing.”