Illawarra sporting clubs are jumping at the chance to resume training as coronavirus restrictions ease.
AFL South Coast team, the Wollongong Bulldogs resumed training this week under modified rules to maintain social distancing.
Division 1 Women’s player Paris Talty said the team was eager to get back onto the field after an enforced hiatus.
“We were meant to play Round 1 in April so we’ve been waiting a long time to get back into training,” Talty said.
“We have modified our training so it is within the regulations. We have split our teams into groups of nine or under so we can have a coach with us as well, and we train on separate days and at different times.”
Although training is non-contact and social distancing must be maintain, Miss Talty said the ability to train in groups meant the Bulldogs would be in good condition to start playing should the season start.
“It’s very different not being able to tackle or bump into each other, but the coaches have given us great exercises to get us fit to play again,” she said.
The recommencement of group training has been a positive for those who felt isolated during the lockdown.
“To be able to see teammates again has made everyone feel less lonely and excited for what is to come,” Talty said.
“Hopefully the season does go ahead eventually, because we are all eager to get out there now we know what it’s like to not play footy on the weekends.”
While footballs can be used at training, the Bulldogs decided to wait an extra week before bring them back.
AFL NSW/ACT released the “Return to Small Group Training Protocols” that teams must follow.
“[A] requirement for Clubs returning to small group training, is that they must nominate at least one COVID Safety Officer who has completed the free online COVID-19 infection control training,” AFL South Coast said.
“We remind players that the key principle for returning to small group training is “Get in, Train, Get Out”. We encourage everyone to save the socialising for social media, arrive on-time and leave straight after the last whistle has blown!”