North’s Macmillan to go home to support pregnant wife

North Melbourne defender Jamie Macmillan will return to Melbourne from the club's Queensland hub to be with his pregnant wife.

Macmillan, 28, will head home next week with his wife Olivia due to give birth to the pair's first child some time after round 12.

Jamie Macmillan and his partner Olivia at the 2016 Brownlow Medal. Credit:Pat Scala

"We found out in December, and like most footballers, we looked up the fixture to see where it lands, and at the time it fell in the pre-finals bye which was perfect," Macmillan said.

"So, it looks like after the Melbourne game [I'll leave]. That's the plan for now."

Given the two-week quarantine period required to return to the hub, it would be difficult for the 165-game player to return this season, but at this stage, not impossible.

He said the club and in particular coach Rhyce Shaw was very supportive of the decision.

"Shawry's had a number of conversations with me," Macmillan said.

"He's spoken about his experiences with his kids, and said that it's not something you want to miss.

"He and the club have been nothing but supportive in helping me navigate my way through this.

"I love playing footy and I love this footy club, and we're going through a trying time at the moment.

"To feel like you're sort of deserting the guys is a challenge."

Juggling family life and footy has been one of the biggest challengers for AFL players and staff during the 2020 season, which has forced the league to move out of Victoria due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Last week St Kilda veteran Nathan Brown retired and left the hub to be with his family, while earlier this year Richmond's Shane Edwards and Bachar Houli remained in Victoria to support their pregnant partners.

The AFL and clubs have shared the cost for some player's and staff's family members to travel to the hubs.

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