Benalla basketball locks in return date

By Meg Saultry

Basketball in Benalla is determined to be part of what no other code has managed to crack in 2020 – a full domestic and representative season.

It’s still in the hands of COVID-19 restrictions, which have rubbed out sport after sport; but Benalla Basketball Association has targeted August 24 as a launch date for its domestic competition.

Aussie Hoops, a junior development program for children aged five to 10, resumed this week while the groundwork has been laid for the representative season, with coaches appointed and trials planned.

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Basketball Victoria Country has issued associations with an ORANGE-50 reactivation status, which means full contact junior training and competition is approved with 10 players per team, coaches and one parent per child permitted to attend.

Players aged 19 and older remain on ORANGE-20 status, with non-contact training permitted.

Vice-president Amy Nicholas said the association had BVC’s full backing to get its programs off the ground.

“All associations are wanting to move ahead, but how it looks is still unknown. We’ll take our guidance from Basketball Victoria,” Nicholas said.

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She said despite initial scepticism from parents about basketball returning, the association was doing its best to chart a course forward through the coronavirus collateral damage.

amidst the uncertainty.

“It’s all unknown at the moment, but we need to maintain planning,” she said.

“The kids are always super keen to play and we're hoping new ones jump on board. Obviously with netball and football clubs not being able to play, we’re hoping kids want to try something different and come and have a go at basketball.

“It isn’t just about playing sport. It’s about the social aspect, mental health and having something else apart from school.

“Sport is a community, so we just want to see kids back out there and socialising.”

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Benalla Stadium will still operate under strict COVID-19 hygiene practices when competition resumes.

“In the stadium we’ll have scanners where you hold out a code on your phone and sign in,” Nicholas said.

“All balls will be sanitised, there will be hand sanitising and we'll be wiping down surfaces. Parents will also need to practice social distancing.”

The association is also planning its entries into the Country Basketball League, which routinely starts in October.

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