Netball Australia has made the difficult decision to cancel their 2021 national championships due to the current COVID-19 situation sweeping the country.
The decision, which means the under 17s campaign of Woollamia's Emma Keane and her NSW side is over before it began, was made based on the relevant health advice, with the safety of all participants and the wider community the priority.
Netball Australia executive general manager performance Stacey West said it was a difficult but necessary decision to cancel the July 4-17 event in Hobart.
"This is certainly not the position we hoped to be in, and we can only imagine the disappointment and frustration of our players, coaches and umpires," West said.
"I'd like to thank Netball Tasmania, who have worked so hard to deliver an exceptional event experience, only to have the event cancelled for the second consecutive year.
"Unfortunately, the unpredictability and instability of the coronavirus pandemic isn't going away and our priority is always the safety of our participants."
The under 17s and 19s titles, which provides a pathway for the country's top talents to showcase their skills, had seen Keane and her side train hard for months before going into hotel quarantine in Hobart, to ensure they were ready for the tournament.
"Our NSW state team athletes have shown a maturity and strength beyond their years in facing the obstacles that COVID restrictions have placed on them in the past week," Netball NSW general manager of performance and pathways Margaret Hamley said
"For many of these athletes, this is the second year in a row they have not had the opportunity to compete at nationals.
"Since preparation began in March athletes and coaches travelled to training from different regions of NSW such as Newcastle in the north and Jervis Bay and Wagga Wagga in the south.
"The teams grew with performance analysis and sports psychology sessions and week-by-week their team bond and Waratah pride developed.
"Coaches challenged their athletes to take their game to another level and it was exciting to watch these teams become nationals ready and confident to take on the best from around the country."
Netball Australia, in partnership with its member organisations, will now explore options and confirm the approach to enable the ongoing talent development and identification process for their 2021 pathway program participants.
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