HDFNL netball coaches have thrown their support behind the league board's 'tough, but necessary' decision to cancel the 2020 season.
Quick to cast aside any frustration at the loss of a season, coaches commended the league for putting the health and welfare of players, clubs and communities first during uncertain times brought forward by COVID-19.
Netball coaches were advised of the league's decision on Thursday night, after a video conference hook-up with league presidents.
Dual White Hills premiership coach Lauren Bowles, whose club will be chasing a third-straight premiership when the competition resumes in 2021, said the decision had been made with the common good in mind.
"With all the restrictions in the community, I think most of us were thinking about how we could play sport, and if we did without crowds, how would clubs run and function," he said.
"We're obviously disappointed, playing team sport there is that social-side and catch-ups that we are certainly going to miss this season, but from a logistics side, it doesn't surprise me.
"The league has done their homework and with the protocols that have been brought out for training and what game day was potentially going to look like, that was going to cause a few headaches, particularly in a league where we do do a lot of travel.
"(The league) has our best interests at heart, not just coaches and players, but the community as well.
"It's a good decision, but that doesn't stop it being disappointing, missing out on our football and netball, but it's the right decision."
Bowles revealed talk of the Demons' bid for a three-peat being on hold had been the hot topic on the players' Snapchat group chat on Friday.
She added staying connected socially would continue to be a priority in the months ahead.
Colbinabbin coach Lou Dupuy said there was no disputing the league had made the right call.
"There's no point us playing if no one can be there and there is no community involvement, that's the reason why we play. It's not just about the players, it's about our community and our clubs," she said.
"I absolutely support the decision, as disappointing as it is. There's not much we can do."
Dupuy, who led the Grasshoppers to an A-grade flag in 2015 and was returning to the top role as a playing coach this year, praised her players - many of them new to the club in 2020 - for their exemplary handling of the isolation period.
"We have quite a few girls across the grades and quite a few who have had to move back home when all this went down," she said.
"So, we've tried to stay connected with everybody online, but it's been tricky.
"Hopefully, we can get together eventually and do some things together... I'm sure next season will be pretty exciting."
The season cancellation has only whetted Dupuy's appetite for netball even further, with the four-time Grasshoppers premiership player already indicating she would like to remain at the helm for 2021.
She added it was possible the club would hold some training sessions down the track as further coronavirus restrictions eased.
The unlikely return to full scale training by June 15, which was the latest date as requested by clubs to be able to train as a whole, was high on the list of reasons given by the HDFNL board to scrap the season.
It's not just about the players, it's about our community and our clubs.Lou Dupuy
Elmore coach Sue Borserio admitted the cancellation had come as no shock, despite holding 'a glimmer of hope' of some semblance of a season going ahead.
"The league has been wonderful, very supportive and it would have to be a tough decision to make but I believe it's the correct one," she said.
"It shows they care about their communities and want to keep us safe."
The Bloods have continued to train online, three times a week, since the halt on training in groups was called in mid-March, with sessions focusing on fitness, skills and tactics and a themed-Zoom party on Thursdays.
Borserio said this would likely be scaled back to one session a week, with the Zoom party tipped to stay so team-mates could check on each other "emotionally, physically and psychologically'.
"Our group has been affected with front line health workers, remote schooling, job losses and isolation in a country area playing a big part in the changes to their lives," she said.
"As a coach and a club we want to reach out to our sporting family and let them know we are there for them if they need us.
"That's the great assets of a country club like Elmore, it may be a small town but it has a big heart."
Without a return to the playing court, Borserio said the focus for her and the club would quickly turn to upskilling coaches, utilising sessions with some of Australia's leading coaches.
As a coach and a club we want to reach out to our sporting family and let them know we are there for them if they need us. Thats the great assets of a country club like Elmore, it may be a small town but it has a big heart.Sue Borserio
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