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COVID-19: Girls’ netball back on court

02 July 2020

Players from Magpies Netball Club in Beenleigh are excited to be back on the court after a three-month hiatus due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Beenleigh Netball Association Club President Maree Robbins said the club returned to training last month and not even the rain could stop them.

“It was raining for our first session back, so between the weather and the restrictions we wondered what would happen. But the kids all turned up and were so keen to train again,” she said.

“They were happy and running around; and couldn’t stop laughing the whole time. It was great to see.”

COVID-safe guidelines have led to a few tweaks to the time-honoured rules of netball.

“Netball rules state players need to be 0.9 of a metre away from their opponent when defending a pass or shot. We just extended this a little to 1.5 metres,” Maree laughed.

Parents are also pleased netball training is restarting.

“I think parents are relieved. Lockdown has been hard on some, and netball training is supervised and safe for their kids,” Maree said.

Both the coaches and players are eager to return to exercise.

“I asked one young player if she had kept up her fitness during the break and she said, ‘If you mean by eating chocolate, chips and sitting on the couch, then yes,’” Maree smiled.

With that in mind, Maree said it’s been great to see the players get back on the court for training.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has been tough on the club,” she said.

“We were disappointed when we had to shut down. It drove everyone crazy not being able to play. Our daytime season normally runs from February to June, so we’ve also lost revenue from that period.”

Despite this, Maree is looking forward to getting the club back on its feet and back to running at its usual capacity of nine courts.

“Normally between February to June we have school netball, both primary and secondary students, along with senior and junior club fixtures. During that period over 1,300 players use the courts every week,” Maree said.

“We get 17-year-old girls join up who have never played the game before. They want to exercise with their friends, and they want to belong somewhere—sport gives them that sense of belonging.”

Thanks to the Queensland Government’s $2,000 COVID SAFE Active Clubs Kickstart grant, the club was able to put their COVID-safe plan in place very quickly.

“It has been fantastic; we were able to buy sanitiser and new signage, arrange a deep-clean of the premises, and provide safety training for our coaches. It meant we could get back up and running as soon as possible,” Maree said.

Maree is now preparing for a return of fixtures.

“We’re looking forward to playing contact fixtures soon with family watching from the sidelines,” Maree said.

Now, that’s a goal worth shooting for.