Netball ACT has pulled the pin on all of its winter competitions due to the extended COVID-19 lockdown plaguing the capital, but says it remains hopeful players can return to the court for summer competitions later in the year.
The lockdown extension results in winter fixtures not returning at district levels - in Tuggeranong, Arawang, South Canberra and the combined North Canberra competition - alongside winter social netball competitions.
Netball ACT chief executive officer Matthew Battams confirmed no divisional winners would be announced for the state league this year, despite the first week of finals having been played.
"Netball is a really dynamic sport and in addition to not being clear when community sport will be allowed to return, the risk of injury to athletes returning after such an extended break was a key consideration," he said.
"Additionally, both athletes and officials often transition to other sports as we move into summer."
Netball joins the growing list of cancelled winter disciplines, alongside rugby league, soccer, rugby union and AFL competitions in Canberra.
Clubs were told about the cancellation on Wednesday, before the announcement on Thursday.
"The ACT community is passionate about its netball and throughout lockdown Netball ACT and each of our districts continue to be contacted about when netball will be returning" Battams said.
"Netball ACT and each of the districts remain optimistic that a summer competition will be played, however understand that this will be dependent on the transition out of lockdown and that the highest priority is the safety of the ACT community".
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Another blow was also delivered for school school sport in the ACT. It has been cancelled for term four due to the lockdown extension.
The cancelled School Sport ACT events, for both primary and secondary schools, include:
- All secondary netball events
- Secondary football finals
- Secondary girls softball
- All four primary regional track and field events
- Both secondary regional track and field events
- The under 12s and over 13s ACT Track and Field Championships
In a statement, SSACT said it was not looking to make further postponements as there would not be sufficient time left in the term.
"If students do return to school based learning in week five and six, we anticipate large gathering restrictions and schools being busy with catching up on missed activities and end of year assessment," it said.
SSACT is investigating the delivery of a virtual track and field opportunity, similar to last year's virtual cross country.
However, there was some hope for students from nine ACT schools on Wednesday, as they had the opportunity to virtually ask questions of NSW cricketers Mitchell Starc and Ollie Davies.