Major changes as Flyers refocus on delayed season start
THE Ipswich Flyers launch their latest Queensland Premier League netball season under some changed conditions as they prepare to defend their title.
The Flyers play MacGregor Open White in Thursday night's match at the Queensland State Netball Centre.
But in the delayed season's matches this year, the Flyers can only arrive 15 minutes before the game with limited warm-up time due to COVID-19 precautions.
The season will run until November, instead of the usual August, with players and spectators having to check in and out using a QR code.
All courts and equipment are to be cleaned in between games.
During matches, participants and spectators must adhere to social distancing rules allowing four square metres per person.
Everyone involved with the match will be asked to leave as soon as possible.
Preparing for the 12 minute quarters, head coach Nicole Grant said her team was eager to enjoy what they can in the SEQ Cup competition despite the added requirements.
"As the break was a long period of uncertainty I feel it was more of a hindrance,'' Grant said.
"The players weren't sure what was happening. If they were playing this season or not however they understood why.
"Netball wasn't the priority. People's health and safety were.
"The team are all grateful for the chance to play.''
The Flyers completed their preparation for round one with a practice match against a few teams from Western Districts Netball Association.
"We have been focusing on getting our fitness back on track,'' Grant said.
"Our physio Ben (French) has been taking the girls twice a week where possible for strength and conditioning training.''
Experienced Ipswich trio Tara Bramwell, Emilie McInally and Erin Ellis will lead the Flyers this season.
"Unfortunately Tara is injured and will miss our first game,'' Grant said.
"Having a number of new players this year I want to ensure they experience the wonderful culture at the Flyers.
"We have two new young shooters in the team (Rayna Verrenkamp and Lusa-Laquane Segi), I am excited to see their growth throughout the season. Both show huge potential.''
As for finally taking the court on Thursday night, Grant is keen to see where her team is at.
"Our pre-season had to focus mostly on our fitness,'' she said.
"Throughout the season we will work on our combinations, helping our new players settle in and refine areas we need to focus on.
"Having netball back for players who love the game is very important. It fulfils not only their competitive needs but it also provides fitness and friendships which during a pandemic is extremely beneficial for health and well-being.''
Thursday (7.50pm) - Ipswich Flyers v MacGregor Open White at Queensland State Netball Centre, Mt Gravatt.
Flyers squad: Meg Bowmaker, Tara Bramwell, Kirsty Brennan, Bridget Cumming, Erin Ellis, Abbey Gallagher, Gabrielle Kropp, Emilie McInally, Lusa-Laquane Segi, Skye Sippel, Tahlia Vandenberg, Rayna Verrenkamp. Training partner: Allison Payne.
Coach: Nicole Grant. Manager: Mel de Kleyn. Physio: Ben French. Stats: Melissa Prentice.