A NETBALL season that promised so much, but has barely gotten off the ground has had a silver lining for three of the BFNL's brightest young prospects.
Young guns Chloe Langley, Claire Oakley and Ruby Turner have been chosen in Netball Victoria's elite development squad.
The squad, which features 33 athletes from both the 2020 Victorian Fury and 19-and-under and 17-and-under state squads, aims to provide opportunities for the state's most promising athletes to work on their individual development at an elite level.
South Bendigo goal shooter Langley hopes squad participation can fill some of the void left by the delayed starts to the trio's Victorian Netball League and BFNL seasons.
"I am missing it so much, it's been the longest pre-season ever," she said.
"It's so frustrating not being able to play and to just train and train and not have a game at the end of the week.
"But being in Year 12, it has left plenty of time for study, so it's probably been a good thing in some ways in keeping up with school, but I am really missing netball."
Langley, the BFNL's Rising Star award recipient last season and a runaway winner of her club's best and fairest award, has been continuing to train with South Bendigo, and last week returned to practice with her VNL club City West Falcons.
The development squad has been split into two units, which will train separately from each other for the time being.
Sandhurst's Turner will train with the 'navy' squad, while Langley and Kyneton goaler Oakley have been allocated to the 'white' squad.
Langley said she expected to learn more about what the elite development program would entail at today's first training session.
"We are not allowed to be one-on-one together, so it will probably be a lot of work on foot-work and court structures," she said.
Langley, a year 12 student at Castlemaine Secondary College, was rapt to have BFNL company in the elite development squad, especially Sandhurst's Turner.
The pair have long been academy, inter-league and regional team-mates and were the captain (Langley) and vice-captain of last season's BFNL team.
Turner, who earned A-reserve and A-grade premiership medallions with Sandhurst last season, was thrilled to hit the court with the development squad for the first time on Monday afternoon in Werribee.
"It's great to be back training with the group of girls I had been training with, I haven't seen them since before isolation," she said.
"We were only a couple a weeks off going to nationals before it was all cancelled, so it was quite disappointing and devastating to miss out.
"We've been training a couple of times a week at Sandhurst and I started my VNL training with North East Blaze two weeks ago too, so it's starting to get back to normal, obviously without any game play."
Turner, a year 12 student at Catherine McAuley College, was set for a big season with the BFNL Dragons, her first as a full-time member of the A-grade team, which at some point will be chasing a fourth-consecutive premiership.
"It's been very frustrating ... any netballer just wants to play netball," she said.
"The unknown is quite frustrating as well. It's been good being able to exercise and deal with people, but we all really just want to play.
"It was going to be an exciting year at Sandhurst, but no one knows where that's going to lead."
It's been very frustrating ... any netballer just wants to play netball.Ruby Turner
Turner is again looking forward to crossing netball paths with her representative team-mate Langley.
"Chloe's an amazing player, it's good to be able to be doing something together again. She's not actually in the same squad, but we will be doing the same stuff," he said.
"It will be good being back in touch with Chloe as we haven't been in touch on the netball path for a while."
Oakley's selection comes on the back of strong seasons last year with the BFNL Tigers and her VNL team Melbourne University Lightning.
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