EXPERIENCING four seasons in one day did not affect the unbridled enthusiasm of Golden City Netball Association players, who returned to the court for the first time since July on Saturday.
Hundreds of youngsters fronted at the West Bendigo courts as competition resumed following the easing of state government restrictions.
GCNA president Rachel Thomsen said everybody - players, umpires, coaches and officials - was glad to be back.
"We definitely got all four seasons, but everyone had an enjoyable day and was pumped to be back," she said.
"I thought we might have a couple of forfeits when I saw it was raining on Saturday morning, but we didn't have any, which was terrific.
"I think everyone was just so keen to get out there that it didn't matter what the weather was.
"The kids were on fire, they were so pumped."
If the return of competitive netball was not enough, the mood was even cheerier due to the Suncorp Super Netball grand final appearance the following day of the GCNA's most famous export Caitlin Thwaites.
The Melbourne Vixens' retiring premiership star started her netball journey at Golden City, which remains the source of plenty of pride for those involved with the association.
"Caitlin's career has just been amazing ... I'm a bit devastated, I want her to keep playing for the Diamonds," Thomsen said.
"It was lovely they got the win on the weekend. It was great to see her go out on such a high.
"We're very proud she started here."
Netballers embraced the grand final spirit by sharing their well-wishes in a series of Facebook videos.
Another pleasing aspect of Saturday's return to netball, according to Thomsen, was the strict adherence to COVID-19 protocols and the regulations governing the return to play.
"Obviously the big thing was the masks, but everyone had those and everyone abided by the regulations in between rounds," she said.
"We were also very mindful of people leaving the venue when they had to.
"We'll keep reminding people and be right across that, but everyone did the right thing."
The season will run for seven more weeks, with finals to follow before the competition finishes in December.
The GCNA previously played three rounds of matches during July before the season was postponed due to the implementation of stage three COVID-19 restrictions in regional Victoria.
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