A sense of normality is starting to return at Rochester Football Netball Club.
Last week, the club’s footballers and netballers returned to training for the first time in almost two months as a potential start to the Goulburn Valley League season looms closer.
And for the Tigerettes it was an extra special Thursday as they dusted off the cobwebs under the club’s new netball court lights.
“They’ve been a fantastic addition,” Rochester president Jeff Bright said.
“The netballers are really excited about using them on a regular basis. Any chance to improve things for your club is one we all have to take.”
While the new lights might have been the main attraction, Bright said seeing the teams come together was important.
“It was good for the mental health of our players and staff,” he said.
“I know a few people have been struggling in the past few weeks. When you have something taken away from you, it can be hard to fill that gap.
“But it’s good to see so many of our players have taken care of themselves during their time away from the club.
“The coaches put them through some tough training sessions to try and build up some of that fitness that might have been lost.”
Bright said he expected training to be ramped up this week due to the further easing of restrictions by the Victorian Government.
“Being able to have up to 20 people in a group gives the coaches a lot more to work with,” he said.
“Last week, we had to do our running on the second ground in the dark because only one of our ovals has lights.
“Everything is only going to be looking up from here.”
● Rochester's next generation of football stars will return to the training track this week, despite no official season start date being announced.
The club will run two sessions for its under-14 and 16 teams on Wednesday (4 pm-4.40 pm and 4.50 pm-5.30 pm), with players to be spilt in to two groups of 10 in each run.
Parents need to confirm their child’s attendance on the Rochester Junior Football Club’s Facebook post by 5 pm on Tuesday.
“The club will be keeping an official list of who trains and what times,” the post said.
“Clubrooms and change rooms will not be open, but toilets will be open to use. No equipment, other than footballs and cones will be used.
“In order to help us avoid gatherings, we ask you to make sure that your child does not arrive at the ground before their allocated training time or stay around after their training time.
“All parents must remain outside the boundary line and observe social distancing.”
All training will be non-contact, with social distancing rules enforced and players will not swap between groups.
Players are asked not to attend if they or someone they have been in contact with has been sick, and they should also advise the club’s COVID safety officer Steve Rasmussen.
There will be no sharing of personal items including water bottles, and all need to be easily distinguishable.
High fives, handshakes or other physical contact will also not be allowed.
The club said the under-12s could also start training soon.