A WAG who caused an uproar after breaking the AFL’s coronavirus quarantine bubble to go to a spa has spoken out about the torrent of abuse she faced online.
Brooke Cotchin, who is married to Richmond Tigers Captain Trent Cotchin, was caught breaking the rules in Queensland earlier this year after she uploaded a social media post at a spa.
The club was fined $45,000, $25,000 of which has been suspended – which the Cotchins offered to pay.
However, Mrs Cotchin said despite an apology on social media she is still being trolled by online bullies.
‘It still haunts me and still sets off my anxiety but from your darkest times come your greatest lessons and I am just trying to take each day as it comes,’ Mrs Cotchin told the Herald Sun.
‘That being said, I am human and humans are all imperfect.’
The mother-of-three said some of the vile comments she had received were ‘gut wrenching’ and ‘broke her heart’.
‘I was in a very bad place for a little while and it took some time to dig myself out,’ she said.
She said it was hard to imagine some people had to deal with this kind of abuse on a daily basis.
The backlash she faced means that she hasn’t posted since August 3, when she took to Instagram to apologise to the public.
She said what she did was an honest mistake that she needs to learn from.
‘Yes, we are currently living by AFL protocols whilst being tested twice a week. I had well and truly completed my 2 weeks quarantine when I attended a licensed medical facility for a treatment,’ she wrote on Instagram.
‘I would never have attended nor posted on my social media if I was clear this was not abiding by AFL protocol.
‘We decided as a family to move into the hub so we could help the AFL push through with the remainder of the season. We are incredibly grateful to have this opportunity to be together through this time as I know many people do not have that choice.’
She sent all her ‘love and strength’ to everyone living through lockdown in Victoria.
The Cotchins weren’t the only family to face scrutiny over breaches to the AFL’s quarantine hub in Western Australia.
Sydney Swans young gun Elijah Taylor was suspended for the rest of the season after smuggling his teenage girlfriend into the sporting code’s bubble earlier this month.
Lekahni Pearce, 18, reportedly crossed a golf course and jumped two fences to be reunited with her boyfriend as he was holed up in quarantine at Perth’s Joondalup Resort.
Senior teammates caught Ms Pearce in Taylor’s room and brought the situation to the attention of Swans head of football Charlie Gardiner, according to Footy Classified panellist Caroline Wilson.
The rendezvous cost the club $50,000 with half of the fine to be suspended, and included in the Swans’ 2021 soft cap.
Pearce also apologised over the scandal.
‘I am sorry for everything,’ she said.
‘And like, we did make a really big mistake.’
Swans coach John Longmire said the Western Australian-raised AFL talent had been specifically reminded about the strict protocols before he travelled to Perth.
‘We talked to Elijah specifically before we left and made sure that we all understand what environment we’re going into,’ Longmire told Fox Sports AFL 360.
‘He still made a very poor choice, he still made a decision to deliberately breach the quarantine and it’s unacceptable, and the ramifications are very much suited to what he did.’
‘It was a decision that put so much at risk. He’s only a young player, he’s in his first year of AFL footy, but it was still a terrible decision that has big ramifications.’
The Carlton Blues also copped a $45,000 fine after players’ children recently visited Dreamworld.
Collingwood was fined $50,000 after senior coach Nathan Buckley and forwards coach Brenton Sanderson played tennis with two people from outside the team’s hub in Perth.
North Melbourne and Hawthorn have also been fined over various hub rule breaches.
The AFL introduced the quarantine bubble as part of safety procedures to limit contact between interstate players and the public during COVID-19.
Hubs have been set up in Western Australia and Queensland, where matches are being played, for interstate players and staff to live in for the duration of their stay in the state.
The rules are similar to stage three lockdown restrictions, with directives for players and family members to avoid contact with anyone outside the immediate bubble.