With restrictions for sport lifting across the state, the Hunter (HAS), Central Coast (CCAS) and Western Region Academies of Sport (WRAS) are working on a re-structured training schedule for their Greater Bank Netball Programs, with the hope of getting the young athletes back to training in the latter part of 2020.

The Greater Bank Netball Program provides a localised training environment that allows eligible aspiring young netballers located in regional NSW to access quality development opportunities and support as they progress through the Netball NSW pathway. Greater Bank is the official major sponsor of these three academies Netball programs.

After assembling in February, the HAS, CCAS and WRAS programs were put on hold in late March due to the COVID-19 restrictions, which also saw the cancellation of the 2020 Your Local Club Academy Games Greater Bank Netball Tournament, scheduled to be held in Maitland from April 4-5.

The athletes are expected to be back on the court in coming weeks as local associations and representative competitions are rescheduled in line with COVID-19 restrictions. The Academy programs will be aiming to complement the netballers’ representative commitments by running training sessions throughout September and October.

WRAS Executive Officer, Candice Boggs announced, “Plans are underway to bring together the athletes from HAS, CCAS and WRAS for a weekend of fun and competition. The weekend will showcase our partnership with Greater Bank whilst incorporating skill development, match play and off court education for the athletes. This event will be run in line with all current NSW Health Guidelines and COVID-19 restrictions.”

Load management and maintaining skill acquisition during this time will be paramount, with the remainder of the program to focus on a combination of recovery, nutrition and well-being aspects as well as individual technical development.

Sallie Partridge, Head Coach of HAS’ Netball squad said “In such a challenging environment, we are lucky to be so well supported by our education partners, all of whom have jumped straight on board to continue to support our netballers in their home environments during this unplanned break in sport.”

Emily Burgess-Moore, Events Manager CCAS followed with “The CCAS Greater Bank Netball program faced unprecedented challenges this year, but this has lead us to engage in other ways with the athletes. Amidst the evolving situation of the COVID-19 pandemic, CCAS put together a program that enabled all current athletes to keep exercising safely within the confinements of their homes.”

“With restrictions easing, CCAS have also been able to hold a face to face session with the netball girls. It was so exciting to see everyone again! CCAS feel confident that the 2020 Greater Bank Netball program will continue to grow and evolve as we roll through the next few months,’ she added.

Greater Bank has been a long-term partner of both the HAS and CCAS netball programs and also linked with WRAS in 2018. Head of Marketing and Customer Experience, Matthew Hingston, said that he was delighted to see the Academies working together to bring the athletes back to training in a safe and supportive environment.

“It would have been terribly frustrating for these young athletes to have their academy season postponed, particularly those who had been selected to be part of the programs for the first time.

“It’s fantastic to see each of the academies working hard to give the athletes every opportunity to get back on the training court this season. We look forward to seeing the progress of the squads in 2020 and beyond.”