Preventing injury key focus as champions set to return
FRESH from their first "official'' training session, the Ipswich Flyers can at last focus on defending their Queensland Premier League (QPL) title.
Flyers head coach Nicole Grant summed up the feeling in her netball team's camp now that a July 30 start date has been confirmed.
"Very excited,'' Grant said, preparing for her second season overseeing Ipswich's QPL SEQ Cup combination.
"It's been such an uncertain year so far for everyone so to have some form of clarity has been very welcomed.''
The 2019 grand final victors are waiting to see who they have to face first-up when Thursday night competition resumes. The draw is yet to be finalised.
"It feels very quick. We will only have four training sessions until we play,'' the former representative netballer said.
"But everyone is in the same situation and we are lucky to be able to play at all this season.
"My only concerns are around injuries with the girls coming back into contact sport with a short pre-season.''
Grant said the Flyers were focusing on injury prevention during training sessions, under the watchful eye of physio Ben French.
From Xtreme Performance Physio, French has conducted individual fitness screenings with each player. He has provided them with a specific strength and conditioning program to work on.
"We are so fortunate to have Ben with us this season,'' Grant said.
"Ben will run conditioning sessions during our training sessions each week.
"Ben also provides a strapping service for our team.''
French's role will be important with the grand final set down for November 13.
However, the Flyers 17s will have a season off due to the COVID-19 restrictions.
One division is planned for Opens and 19's, restricted to 18 teams per division.
With the courts closed until this week, the Flyers were only able to hold their first official training session on Monday night.
"It was great to see the girls back on court with a netball in their hands,'' the coach said.
"Prior to this the girls were doing their own programs at home.''
The closeknit Flyers also kept a team approach during the sporting shutdown.
"We held a team bonding day amazing race where the girls were split into teams and had to race around answering clues and completing activities such as kayaking, netball shooting, identifying fruit trees and getting pictures with farm animals,'' the head coach said.
"There was a lot of running around and the girls finished off with a team lunch.''
On the player situation, Flyers training partner Taylor Hudspith has withdrawn to pursue cycling.
"Everyone else is available to play the first game at this stage,'' Grant said.
The 2020 Ipswich Flyers squad is: 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.