Basketball and netball to return

Wallan basketball and Kilmore Broadford Netball Association (KBNA) are preparing for the return of junior sport in the region.

The return to sport comes after Premier Daniel Andrews announced the easing of COVID-19 restrictions last Sunday.

After the club’s return to play plan was approved by Mitchell Shire Council on Thursday, Wallan junior domestic basketball competition is set to start on July 18, coinciding with the start of term three.

Junior representative basketball is likely to begin about the same time.

The plan has been signed off by council and the RB Robson Stadium committee and is in line with Basketball Victoria’s guidelines.

Wallan basketball president Gary O’Brien said the return of basketball won’t be normal.

“It’ll be different and will require everyone to work together and be tolerant because it’s about getting the kids back out on the court,” he said.

“One parent per child, no siblings and separate entries and exits are examples of things people are going to have to get used to in the short term.

“For parents, they need to be ready for it to be a bit unusual and a little inconvenient.

“I’d like to think we can have some fun with it because everyone knows what’s going to happen and what they have to do so I think it’ll be okay.”

While junior sports were allowed to resume from yesterday, O’Brien said waiting until after the school holidays was a better option than rushing back and stopping again for school holidays.

“No one expected it to open this quickly so we were already planning for July,” he said.

“This has been a bigger step than we planned for so we weren’t ready to press the button yet and it gives the volunteers and parents more time to get organised.”

Like many football netball leagues, the KNBA is waiting on Netball Victoria to release its directives on a return to play but has also set July 18 as a tentative date.

President Danni Thompson said the KBNA was trying to start a season for all participants that wanted to be involved to allow children and teenagers an opportunity to be active in the sport.

“There really are mixed feelings about the whole COVID-19 situation so the committee is very mindful of putting the health and wellbeing of everybody first,” she said.

“We will need to follow the guidelines Netball Victoria sets out and we’re all waiting anxiously to see what the competition guidelines are.

“At the moment, we’re following the basic government guidelines on social distancing.”