Suncorp Super Netball players have reached out to Gladys Berejiklian

WAITING: Orange City's champion shooter Kristin Zinga is among many ONA players who are keeping their eyes open for further guidance from the NSW government ahead of a potential season start. Photo: JUDE KEOGH
WAITING: Orange City's champion shooter Kristin Zinga is among many ONA players who are keeping their eyes open for further guidance from the NSW government ahead of a potential season start. Photo: JUDE KEOGH

Orange Netball Association has been hard at work to finalise a return date for its 2020 season and while Jane Dennis and the committee has pencilled in a July 18 kick-off, it's still waiting for a clearcut go ahead from the NSW government.

That lack of directive isn't only affecting ONA, but is plaguing the sport at a professional and grass roots level. So much so that five Suncorp Super Netball players reached out to the Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Friday, imploring her to give the state the opportunity to return to return to the court.

The letter was signed by Giants' shooter Bassett and the captains and coaches of both NSW Super Netball teams, the Swifts' Maddy Proud and Briony Akle and the Giants' Jo Harten and Julie Fitzgerald.

Netball NSW has done everything we can to this point. The onus is now on the State Government to fulfil their duty to 115,000 players in NSW.

Letter to Gladys Berejiklian

Netball NSW slashed its budget at the onset of the pandemic to remain viable, but the situation continues to adversely impact the entire netball community's regular sources of revenue, and operating costs continue to be incurred.

"The game is facing a financial crisis," the signatories said.

"Other states have provided financial assistance and a return to play date for sport, yet in NSW we have nothing.

"This is even harder to fathom given the Australian Institute of Sport has written the guidelines on how to reboot sport across the country.

"Netball NSW in a non-profit organisation. It was founded by brave, pioneering women for whom nothing came easy. Now we are fighting for survival. It must not be allowed to flounder through a situation not of its own making."

And while communities are returning to normality from a hospitality and educational standpoint, the feeling from the five players is that sports are being left behind.

"At a time when schools are back in session, pubs and restaurants are able to host up to 50 people and life looks like it is getting back to normal, community sport is high and dry without even a hint of when further information might be forthcoming."

"Netball NSW has done everything we can to this point. The onus is now on the State Government to fulfil their duty to 115,000 players in NSW and tell us when we can return to netball.

"We recognise that our problem is a shared on across most community sport. No one expects us to run competitions the same way we did in 2019. As it has been for generations, our game is willing to be innovative and flexible when it comes to approaching competition this year.

"The game's motto at this time is simple: no one gets left behind. Whether you play in the far reaches of regional NSW or in the centre of Sydney, the Netball NSW team is working tirelessly to ensure its plan allows for the viability of netball in all areas. We all want to get back on the court."

ONA president Jane Dennis is pleased there are plans in place for a July 18 return but is still keeping her eyes open for government advice.

"We're still cautious and still watching guidance from the NSW government and mainly Netball NSW," Dennis said. "It seems like there's increased positivity around it all as society starts to get back to normal. At the moment, our goals are seemingly achievable."

This story Netball NSW shifts onus to government first appeared on Central Western Daily.