THE news central Victorian region's netballers have been craving has arrived.
Netball Victoria has endorsed May 21 as the date community netball clubs across the state can resume training.
In a statement released late on Monday, Netball Victoria advised that from Thursday, groups of up to 10 people will be permitted to meet outdoors for the purpose of group netball activity, whilst adhering to appropriate physical distancing regulations.
"Netball Victoria sees this as an opportunity for teams to gradually begin to reconnect with their teammates and return to training in a safe and cautious manner," the statement said.
"Netball Victoria affiliates and clubs are required to adhere to the Return to Community Netball guidelines, to assist teams in returning to training in a manner that prioritises the health and wellbeing of both the individuals involved in the session, as well as the wider community.
"Of course, any return to training should be optional and entirely at the discretion of the individual."
In further advice, Netball Victoria has warned all players, coaches and officials, who have been unwell in the past 14 days, or have had close contact with a known or suspected case of COVID-19, to refrain from training.
The Netball Victoria statement follows that on the weekend from AFL Victoria, which approved a May 25 start date for community football training.
Further announcements around the return of netball competitions and programs are expected on May 31.
A return to training date has been greeted with joy at some clubs, while others are adopting a more patient approach.
Coach of Bendigo Football Netball League club South Bendigo Jannelle Hobbs said it was her club's intention to resume training for its A-grade, A-reserve and 17-and-under teams on Thursday.
"We'll be straight into it, but it will just be the higher grades and 17-and-under; B-squad won't be training until they find out whether a season is going ahead or not," she said.
"We were organised last week, so we have all the safety measures in place, with all the sanitiser and cleaning products, so we're ready to go.
"The girls are very happy and dying to get back into it. There's only so much you can do online with your fitness and training.
"It will be great seeing everyone again. The next thing is whether we have a season or not.
"We'd love to see it go ahead because the girls have put in a lot of work, but of course there is a lot to get over the line before that can happen."
Heathcote coach Lorrae Closter said her club would await further advice from the Heathcote District league before moving back to formalised training.
"Til we get that all-clear from the league the girls will continue doing their own stuff, but formal training won't be back until we get that tick," she said.
"I think everyone is in the same boat, it's very bizarre and strange, but everyone's has been doing what they can to keep their fitness levels up.
"Some are probably the fittest the have been. It's certainly had its positive impacts, but no doubt everyone is keen to get back and see everybody, so we will see what happens soon."
At Loddon Valley league club Maiden Gully YCW, training remains on hold.
"We've decided as a club not to start back at training until we know more details and learn more about the procedure for each training session," said joint A-grade coach Christie Griffiths.
"You are limited to 10 players and in what you can actually do.
"We've been posting things online for our girls and we're hoping they have been keeping up their fitness - we're keen as mustard to get back out there
"I still think there are so many unknowns."
Meanwhile, Netball Victoria will host free 'Return to Community Netball Information Session' webinars for associations, leagues and clubs at 6.30pm on Tuesday and 7.30pm on Wednesday.
Register by clicking here
FULL NETBALL VICTORIA STATEMENT
Following the Victorian Government announcement on Monday 11 May of a phased approach to the lifting of COVID-19 restrictions, Netball Victoria has developed their Return to Community Netball guidelines to support the resumption of training on outdoor courts.
We are excited to be able to advise that from Thursday 21 May, groups of up to 10 people will be permitted to meet outdoors for the purpose of group netball activity, whilst adhering to appropriate physical distancing regulations. Netball Victoria sees this as an opportunity for teams to gradually begin to reconnect with their teammates and return to training in a safe and cautious manner.
Netball Victoria Affiliates and Clubs are required to adhere to the Return to Community Netball guidelines, to assist teams in returning to training in a manner that prioritises the health and wellbeing of both the individuals involved in the session, as well as the wider community.
Of course, any return to training should be optional and entirely at the discretion of the individual. In addition to this, participants should not return to netball if in the last 14 days they have been unwell or have had close contact with a known or suspected case of COVID-19.
Associations, Leagues, Clubs and Netball Victoria members are encouraged to visit the COVID-19 information page on the Netball Victoria website, where there will be a range of downloadable and editable resources available to help ensure a smooth and safe return to play in the new COVID-19 environment. Please note, the resources and information provided by Netball Victoria are aligned with the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) Framework for Rebooting Sport in a COVID-19 Environment, and the State/Territory COVID-19 Road Map.
Netball Victoria continue to engage with AFL Victoria, Basketball Victoria and other sports around the return to community sport, and we encourage you to work together to decide on the best approach for your local community.
Netball Victoria will be hosting information sessions to inform and educate Affiliates and Clubs on the protocols for a safe return to netball. Click here to register.
For further advice on how your team or club can return to play, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Further announcements around the easing of restrictions, including the return of competitions and programs, will be made by May 31.
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