It was one thing to say that junior-sporting competitions were allowed to get back to training, but it was another thing completely to make it happen.
Tumut Eagles junior footballers and Tumut Bullants junior rugby players took their firs tbig step on Thursday and Friday night, with training finally returning to Bull Paddock and Jarrah Oval respectively.
It looked a little different, with check in points, roll calls and a variety of Covid-19 safety precautions, but there was one common denominator; plenty of smiling and active kids.
The Tumut Eagles was the first club that allowed kids back and four teams took to the Bull Paddock on Thursday afternoon, working on fitness and ball skills.
Long-time Eagles coach, player and committeeman, Mick Parker will be looking after the under 15/16s side in 2020 and had a good turn out on Thursday.
After the initial session, Parker said that numbers were very good and he hoped to get back to some normality sooner rather than later.
“It was great to be back on the paddock. The numbers at training were high and the enthusiasm from the players was tremendous,” Parker said.
“We had to stick to non-contact drills, such as passing, but are hopeful of a return to unrestricted training soon to get a bit of match play going.”
Fellow Eagle, Lachlan Anderson will be helping his father Rodney Anderson when coaching the under 14s Gold team this season.
In a very action session, Anderson was excited to see the kids getting right into training and explained some of the drills they completed.
“For our first training session back, we wanted to just get the players getting into the feel of playing again. It’s obviously been a long time since last season, even longer than normal,” Anderson said.
“We worked mostly on getting touches on the ball, dribbling, and a lot of short passes to get them back into the groove. The players were keen to get back into it.
“They were enjoying themselves a lot, but were very eager to give 100% during the drills we gave them.”
Anderson is hoping to get his side into the thick of things soon, moving to twice a week sessions as they prepare for a shortened season.
“Since we have a shortened preseason, we will be training two times a week, which isn’t something juniors usually do,” Anderson said.
“The players were all very keen for two training sessions, so I’d say they are all very exciting to get back to it.”
At Jarrah Oval on Friday evening, Bullants numbers were good, with four main groups training and the club looking in a good position to field a lot of age groups.
Bullants president, Mick Leane was pleased with the initial interest and hinted that more kids would be training this Friday.
“We had 46 kids, all went well and we have had interest afterwards with people saying they couldn’t make it this week but they would be playing,” Leane said.
“We couldn’t be happier really. We had our return to training plan lodged with SIRU and everything went smoothly. Everyone was recorded, sanitized and enjoyed themselves.”