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Super Netball Headed Back To Queensland Hub

T
he Suncorp Super Netball League has been forced to move five clubs to Queensland after Adelaide announced a seven-day lockdown following a rise in COVID-19 cases.

The Adelaide Thunderbirds, Melbourne Vixens, Collingwood Magpies, and NSW Swifts flew out of Adelaide on Tuesday night and the West Coast Fever today to join Sunshine Coast Lightning and the Queensland Firebirds in Queensland.

Due to being linked to exposure sites in Melbourne, GIANTS Netball, along with Swifts’ head coach and team physio, will remain in Adelaide until the league can reach an agreement with South Australian and Queensland governments for them to travel interstate.

Netball Australia CEO, Kelly Ryan, said the league is working to secure travel for the players and staff currently in Adelaide, and to finalise and update the fixture as possible.

“We know how volatile the pandemic is in the community and we are doing everything we can to complete the Suncorp Super Netball Seasons,” Ryan said.

“I’d like to thank all our stakeholders, our clubs, sponsors, broadcasters, umpires, staff and fans who continue to support our competition,” she said.

Speaking to media on Wednesday, Ryan said: “Adelaide was considered a really good option for us due to the nature at which they’ve handled Coronavirus and the limited impact Coronavirus has had in the Adelaide market and the ability to give our players the freedom they deserve and not be required to undertake a lockdown.”

“Which we believed at the time was imminent in Melbourne, which proved very true.

“That was the context on relocating the teams to Adelaide with the full support of the South Australia Government last Thursday.

“We were really excited to get games away across the country, two of those being in Adelaide.

“The Coronavirus situation started to come on our radar on Monday as we started to learn Coronavirus cases had been located in South Australia, particularly in Adelaide, so naturally we started watching the evolution of that very closely.

“We were really unclear of what their steps would be and the advice given to us on Monday was that tighter restrictions were coming in but no lockdown was forecast.

“In the process of monitoring it yesterday, we were on an all-league call trying to give our players an update on where things were to acknowledge we were aware of the Coronavirus situation unfolding in South Australia and it was at that point we received advice Adelaide was going to go into a lockdown at 6pm.

“Naturally, our number one primary objective has been to continue the Super Netball season and we heard that loud and clear from our players who so desperately want to play and continue the season and we all know how close we are, so that has been a really overriding process in terms of our decision making…

“We’re mindful of what our players have been through and what else we can put them through but hearing everyone wants the season to keep going and be completed and all we’re trying to do right now is give ourselves the very best opportunity to deliver on that.

“So we’re making big decisions really swiftly, but that is all designed to make sure we can keep the competition alive and finish it in a time frame that makes sense,” she said.

Speaking to Ministry of Sport, Ryan said the support Netball Australia receives from the clubs playing host for the season as it moves from state to state is phenomenal.

“Just as it was to move to South Australia and the support we had from the Thunderbirds and everybody at Netball South Australia was phenomenal,” Ryan said on the move to Queensland with support from Sunshine Coast Lightning and the Queensland Firebirds.

“They drop everything to be able to make Super Netball continue.

“Everyone’s got their own challenges, but the support networks they have are things we really try to utilise at this particular time because everyone is really focused on the greater good for the whole league.

“All of our teams, CEOs and high performance managers have been nothing short of remarkable in doing whatever it takes to help the season stay alive,” she said.