From footy field to court return, Jets netballers fire up
AFTER an unexpected session on an Ipswich footy field, the Jets netballers are ready to finally launch their 2020 Sapphire and Ruby Series campaigns.
The regular season start was delayed until Sunday due to ongoing COVID-19 challenges.
However, the well-drilled Jets representative teams have spent recent weeks preparing for Sunday's opening games against the Bull Sharks at the Queensland State Netball Centre.
That preparation included some running and conditioning work at the Ipswich Jets fields when the regular training courts were unavailable due to COVID restrictions.
"We had a little run around the football field . . . without a netball,'' Jets Sapphire Series team captain Stephanie O'Brien said.
"It was a real change, a little bit different but a bit of fun.''
The Jets netballers finished with a dinner at the Jets Leagues Club, showing their support for a major backer.
Both Jets teams made the Netball Queensland finals in their inaugural seasons last year with the Rubies reaching the grand final.
O'Brien said both Jets teams were settled heading into the season despite the coronavirus issues.
"It has been kind of a long pre-season but we've both had eight weeks to do that,'' O'Brien said. "It's been quite good.''
O'Brien said a good practice game against the Wildcats also helped her side get back into competition mode.
"We have got a team of great girls. We will be ready to go on Sunday,'' she said. "I'm excited.''
O'Brien has been appointed to captain for the new season. The Bremer State High PE teacher will be assisted by vice-captain Brooke Hams who also performed the role last year.
The Sapphire team was hoping to feature highly regarded recruit Tippah Dwan in early Jets matches this season until she was named in the Queensland Firebirds extended squad for the first three national league matches.
"We won't probably have her maybe until their season finishes,'' O'Brien said.
Jets regular Bridey Condron was also chosen as an injury replacement for the West Coast Fever national league side. She made her debut, providing another boost for the Jets squads.
This year's Sapphire and Ruby Series will be shorter due to the later competition start.
USQ Jets athletes and coaches have also been involved with running representative programs for the Ipswich and Western Districts netball associations.
A Future Jets Program was also completed recently, providing more exciting opportunities as the major representative series fire up.
GAME DAY (Sunday)
Sapphire Series: 5pm - Jets v Bull Sharks
Ruby South Series: 7pm - Jets v Bull Sharks
Both games on Nissan Arena at the Queensland State Hockey Centre