ALMOST all the grade four and five girls at St Brendan's primary are needed to get a team on the netball court. Plus sometimes a few extra pupils from the school.
Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews' early decision on full-contact competition and training for all junior sports from next Monday has given the team extra reason to be excited. They could be back on court soon.
The Dunnstown primary school, best known in sport for its annual Mountain of Fun Run, is one of the first to sign up for Ballarat Netball Association's popular school competition.
St Brendan's netballers told The Courier the main reason they play is to have fun with friends and, while winning was extra fun, they enjoyed having competition to play against - not always easy in a small school.
Pupils at the school are involved in a variety of sports, particularly via the Dunnstown Football Netball Club whose season remained uncertain.
St Brendan's principal Inez French said school-based sport allowed pupils a chance to have fun together in testing their game against others.
Community sport is so good for children's well-being. They get to play with different friends as well as exercising.Inez French, St Brendan's Primary School principal in Dunnstown
"Community sport is so good for children's well-being. They get to play with different friends as well as exercising," Ms French said.
Ballarat Netball Association operations manager Jo Dash was hopeful school competitions at the Llanberris centre could resume with the start of next term, as the season normally would run.
Ms Dash said while the premier's latest ruling was incredibly welcome for junior sport, the BNA was still awaiting further guidelines from Netball Victoria and City of Ballarat on best safe play and hygiene going forward.
But Ms Dash said the announcement did offer some "light at the end of the tunnel" for grassroots sports.
Sport Central executive officer Michael Flynn told The Courier the biggest concern from sporting clubs and associations had been in how to navigate restrictions and survive, especially on volunteer support.
The BNA has an action plan for how to bring back netball but this was still dependent on how restrictions unravelled.
Football-netball clubs in Ballarat, Central Highlands and Mininera leagues are still to make decisions on competitions and play.
Federation University sports researcher Rochelle Eime has said while most players were hungry for competition, overwhelmingly people involved in community sport wanted it to return for game's social side.
The BNA has been encouraging umpires to brush up on their rules and theory to be ready. Most umpires officiate across different competitions in the region.
BNA's under-15 talent squad will be the first team to start training at Llanberris on Monday night.
Ms Dash said there had been a lot of interest from school teams and in junior mixed competition for players in years seven to 10.
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