FOR a netballer used to playing virtually all year round, lockdown did not sit well with Kyneton's rising star Claire Oakley.
The emerging young goaler was among the keenest to return to training at Kyneton Showgrounds when the Tigers got official clearance, and only recently has been reacquainted with her 19-and-under VNL team-mates at Melbourne University Lightning.
Fortunately, Oakley has been able to add a little bit more netball to the schedule as a member of Netball Victoria's elite development squad.
The squad of 33, split into two groups - navy and white - is comprised of 2020 members of the Victorian Fury team and the state's 17-and-under and 19-and-under squads.
Players had their first hit-out in Melbourne on Monday.
Oakley, who is in the midst of an important year off the court, studying year 12, is happy to get whatever netball work in she can, particularly ahead of an anticipated VNL season.
"We haven't been doing much group session training, but we've been given a lot of programs, like gym work and strength work, which we have had to do," she said.
"I've also been given running sessions and I've been keeping up to date with that too."
Oakley, is also back training with Kyneton in the hopes of a BFNL season getting the go-ahead, and the Tigers getting the chance to build on last season's serviceable total of four wins and a draw, their first back in the A-grade competition after a one-year hiatus.
"The competition is definitely a lot different compared to up here in Melbourne, but it's definitely given me a lot of experience and I am glad I played my first season there," she said.
A busy off-season for the highly-talented 17-year-old included playing with Westside Saints in the St Albans/Caroline Springs Netball Association and mixed netball at the State Netball and Hockey Centre.
Oakley is one three BFNL players in the elite development squad.
She is joined in the white squad by South Bendigo's Chloe Langley, while Sandhurst's Ruby Turner has been allocated to the blue squad.
Oakley said she was looking forward to training alongside fellow goaler Langley, having played against her at both BFNL and VNL level.
As to whether either season goes ahead, Oakley is remaining optimistic.
"I have hope we'll get a season in, obviously with the circumstances it might be a bit hard to achieve," she said.
"But I am hoping we do, I would love to get back out onto the court soon.
"There might be a season, but things are going to be very different."
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