Seymour's Elle McDonald will miss out on the chance to help Victoria Fury defend its Australian Netball League crown this year after the season was cancelled.
On Monday, Netball Australia announced the country-wide league would not go ahead this year due to financial pressures and inconsistent restrictions on training and matches between states and territories caused by COVID-19.
The ANL — which is a feeder competition to the Super Netball competition — had its season postponed in March along with many sporting codes.
McDonald, Seymour's A-grade premiership coach from last year, said although it was disappointing to not pull on the Fury colours this year, she was looking at the bigger picture as the public health crisis continues.
“Everyone was really disappointed when we found out before the announcement,” McDonald said.
“It is such a great opportunity to play ANL, to play with Fury and against some of the best players in the country.
“And it would have been amazing to have the chance to defend our title.
“But you just have to look at the bigger picture, it seems smaller to everything else happening at the moment.”
This year's netball calendar was set to be a massive campaign for McDonald.
After leading Seymour to glory in the Goulburn Valley League's A-grade netball grand final, McDonald has slotted in as a training partner with Melbourne Vixens.
McDonald also juggles commitments with her Victorian Netball League outfit North-East Blaze.
And although she has shared the load at Seymour with Lachlan Deane joining as co-coach, it was still set to be a bumper season for the talented midcourter.
“It's pretty disappointing because this year I had focused a lot on my netball and it was going to be the first time I had a full pre-season with Fury,” McDonald said.
“On the brighter side of things, I got to train with Vixens, and I should be back training with them next week as well as my VNL side.
“But at Seymour, we have decided to hold off and not train as a group until we hear more about a season starting up.”
● This year's edition of the Marie Little Shield has been cancelled.
Due to COVID-19, Netball Australia has cancelled the national tournament for women with intellectual disabilities.
Last year Shepparton’s Grace Dean and Ella Kerrins were involved with the Victorian squad which claimed silver.