Jeremy Latimore acknowledges living inside a COVID-bubble is not an ideal environment, but rugby league players do live a privileged life.
The Port Macquarie Sharks junior hung up the boots at the end of the 2019 National Rugby League season, ending an 11-year NRL career.
New biosecurity rules were implemented early this week which forced 12 clubs - including Newcastle, Canberra and all Sydney squads - to relocate to south-east Queensland for at least the next month.
Families will have to quarantine and self-isolate for the next 14 days before they join the players at one of the three hubs located on the Sunshine Coast, Gold Coast or Brisbane.
While Latimore empathised with players who will be without family support for the immediate future, he said everyone is affected by the pandemic at different levels.
"A mate of mine is a barber and he's had to shut down, but he's still got to pay his staff and rent because he can't cut anyone out of his home because that's a breach of the rules," Latimore said.
"It's not ideal for footballers to be playing the game they love under the (biosecure) conditions they do, but it is what it is. The television networks pay big money and expect the game to be played so if the players want to keep getting their wage, they've got to sacrifice a few things."
Cronulla Sharks halfback Shaun Johnson is one of many players who have to decide whether to uproot the family to Queensland - or be separated from wife Kayla and baby daughter Millah Malvina for an extended period.
Latimore appreciated the difficulty of such a decision.
"At that age they change so quickly and when I played you had away games where you wouldn't see the kids for three days and in that time it seemed like they grew up so much," he said.
"We are talking three to four weeks and if COVID doesn't get under control in Sydney, it could be all the way through to the end of the season.
"It's not ideal, but we're lucky with technology where you can still stay in touch and see your kids daily. Unfortunately it's the painful world we're living in at the moment.
"Different people are going through different levels of pain and you've got to keep soldiering on."
But the 182-game veteran said the NRL were left with little choice other than to relocate the majority of the competition.
One of his former clubs - St George Illawarra - have been in the news for all the wrong reasons after prop Paul Vaughan hosted a barbecue that defied public health orders.
The result was 12 of his teammates receiving fines and suspensions although two of them have so far refused to sign the paperwork.
"All it takes is one person to be a close contact," Latimore said.
"This variant is a lot more transmissible than what we had last year so they have to do what they have to do to keep the game going. For people with families it's going to be a bit of a curve ball.
"If you want to get paid and continue to put food on the plate for your family you don't have much of a choice. That's the reality of it."
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