Lachie Hunter went through some sort of hell in 2020.
In April last year, the Western Bulldogs midfielder was involved in a drink-driving incident and later pleaded guilty to drink driving, careless driving and failing to give his name and address having broken COVID protocols.
As a result, he received a four-match ban, was fined $5000 ($15,000 of suspended fines) and relinquished the vice-captaincy.
A year and five months on and Hunter is preparing with his Bulldogs teammates to play in the 2021 Grand Final against Melbourne next weekend.
Hunter’s father Mark, who played 130 games for the Dogs, lived through that time alongside his son and admits the media scrutiny placed on the family was brutal.
“It’s horrible. You think back to that period and he obviously made a terrible mistake, but then to see what he went through,” he said on SEN Breakfast.
“They just want blood, they just go after you and they taunt the whole family. Reporters chasing the girls down the street trying to get quotes off them and sending them both home in tears.
“You wonder if that makes their day a good day those reporters, I don’t know.
“It’s a horrible time, it does pass, and you’ve certainly got lots of time left in life to make up for your mistakes along the way.
“It’s a dreadful time as a parent. You just wish you could put yourself in their shoes, take away all their pain, let all the bad stuff come upon you and set him free. Yeah, it’s a horrible time and hopefully we don’t have to go through that again.”
Hunter Senior is proud of the way Lachie has put that error in judgment behind him to again be a key contributor for the Dogs after an interrupted 2020 season.
“I am (proud). Life is an ongoing challenge for most of us, but so far so good since that period and what he went through,” he added.
“You all make mistakes in life and hopefully you have learnt from those mistakes, don’t repeat them and make yourself a better person along the way.
“You face such a public outcry when you do something wrong these days.
“He’s been terrific since so hopefully that trend continues.”
The 2018 Charles Sutton Medallist has averaged 22 disposals across 24 games this season, operating primarily on the wing.
He will play in his second Grand Final on September 25 having been a part of the Bulldogs’ drought-breaking premiership in 2016.