On Monday 22nd June, 2020 in my role as GNA Competition Coordinator I attended a virtual Hunter Regional Meeting on behalf of our Association. In attendance from Netball NSW were Melissa Achten – Community Engagement Manager and Lauren Woods – General Manager-Communities. They provided a general update regarding the organisation’s progress in putting together a Return to Play framework for community netball in NSW. At this stage the document is still with the NSW government but the Associations in attendance were advised that community netball will more than likely not resume until there is no upper limit on numbers able to participate in outdoor gatherings, as stated in any future NSW Public Health Orders. While this may ultimately delay the commencement of our winter competition further it will allow us to put together the competition with less restrictions. Unfortunately, this still may not include increased, or unlimited, spectator numbers but hopefully we will be able to structure the fixture in a shortened but similar format to our usual Saturday winter competition.
Netball NSW fee refunds were also discussed, with the final decision on refunds being made by the NNSW Board when they meet by the end of this month. I used this opportunity to liaise with other Associations within our region, and can report that everyone is moving at exactly the same speed in preparing for their return to play, due to the lack of formal instruction allowing Associations to return to play. Once this is granted and the framework has been determined we will work with clubs to create a new fixture based on the numbers of returning players. I would like to thank all clubs for their dedication to ensuring netball at Gosford this year will be conducted in a safe and appropriate manner.
At this point I am working on allocating timeslots for training based on the information summaries received from Clubs last Friday night. Clubs will be notified as this schedule is finalised and if I require any further information. We had planned to set up club meeting points for training on the surrounding grass areas but have since been advised by council this may not be possible as AFL and Touch Football may also be returning to Adcock Park once the Government restrictions ease. Areas to meet for training will require a little more planning.
I would also like to thank our members for your patience as we navigate this constantly moving situation. We ultimately want to see everyone who wants to play netball in 2020 back on the court, but we must exercise caution due to the volatile nature of this pandemic and the restrictions our sport presents by its very nature.
Please do no hesitate to contact your club or the Association via the Secretary if you have any questions. We will keep you up to date as more information comes to hand.