It was one of the most anticipated returns to a season in recent memory and the Central Highlands Netball League (CHNL) delivered in spades.
That anticipation has returned due to the restrictions after a snap lockdown, so what better time than now to remind everybody what an exciting season it was.
New contenders, huge scores, a host of new coaches and plenty more.
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It became apparent during the first six rounds that Hepburn and Buninyong were two best teams in the competition.
Both sit undefeated through five games with percentages of 381.19 and 366.67 respectively.
Both sides kept Springbank to just 18 goals and have beaten rising contenders comfortably.
Hepburn possess an average winning margin of 56.8 goals, Buninyong not too far behind with an average of 43.2 goals.
In a terrible stroke of luck they won't be able to face off in their scheduled round eight clash, owing to the round being abandoned due to restrictions.
It feels like it won't be their only chance to battle this season, however, with September action awaiting both teams.
NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK
In 2019, Beaufort finished the season 14th on the ladder with three wins to its name.
Fast forward to 2021 and it's nearly doubled that total, already registering five wins and sitting fourth on the ladder through six rounds.
It's been quite a turn around for the Crows under new coach Aimee Kirby.
They suffered a hiccup against Springbank, who gently reminded them what the standard is at the top of the ladder with a 34 goal hiding.
Beaufort has beaten fellow finals contenders Skipton, however, and made light work of bottom sides Carngham-Linton, Waubra and Bungaree, as good teams should.
For a 2019 finals side, Rokewood-Corindhap has flown under the radar in 2021.
It sits fifth on the ladder with a record of 4-1, those wins all in a row after a round one loss to Learmonth.
The Hoppers handed Skipton a 14-goal loss for their biggest scalp, new coach Kerry Lightfoot now aiming for strong showings against Springbank, Buninyong, Gordon, Dunnstown, Beaufort and Hepburn in the coming weeks, restrictions allowing.
The side will be without Ellen Milera, however, who ruptured her Achilles and will miss the remainder of the season.
The league saw 12 new coaches begin their careers with their new sides, returning mixed results.
Aimee Kirby has been the most noticeable and successful of the group, leading Beaufort to a complete 180 flip on its 2019 form.
Winners of just three games that season, the Crows have won five games through the first six rounds and looks set for a top four finish if it can continue its form.
Kerry Lightfoot has helped lead Rokewood-Corindhap's continual rise up the ladder.
The Hoppers played finals in 2019 and under Lightfoot's leadership, looks set to do the same again with a 4-1 record.
Kelly Conroy, a stalwart of Springbank's A Grade side, took the reigns in 2021 and has led the Tigers to another strong start.
Their only losses have come to Hepburn and Buninyong, although only managed 18 goals in each game, something Conroy will be aiming to fix come finals time.
Strong wins over Beaufort, Gordon and Dunnstown reminded the competition of the Tigers potential.
Kath Milne has led Clunes to a top eight spot through six rounds, 2-2 and a game ahead of the sides sitting outside the eight.
Dunnstown's Sally McKay has her side sitting just inside the top eight, but has been unable to win back-to-back games, sitting 3-3.
Gordon, Beaufort, Hepburn and Rokewood-Corindhap in the next month will really test the Towners.
Gordon coach Ciane Van Dyken has endured an up-and-down start to her career at the Eagles, 2-3 and ninth on the ladder.
The next three weeks will show where they are at, Dunnstown, Hepburn and Rokewood-Corindhap awaiting them.
The same can be said for Skipton coach Lauren Williams, who after a 2-1 start to the season, now finds her team 3-3 and 10th on the ladder.
Creswick's Holly Sealey has two wins to her name in her first season, but sits a game outside the top eight.
Waubra's Anna Coote received a rough trot in her initial rounds as coach, 0-4 after playing four of the current top eight sides.
Back-to-back wins over Creswick and Ballan have the Roos on track again.
Lisa Strudwick has one win to her name in her first season with Carngham-Linton, but a league third worst percentage of 49.20 isn't a great sign for the Saints.
Olivia Browning is yet to register a win in her first season at the helm of Bungaree, not helped by the large exodus of 2019 senior players.
Lucy Gstrein has faced the same issues, her entire side and former coach heading elsewhere, leaving Ballan 0-4 and 14th on the ladder.
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