After the Giants Netball preparation was thrown into chaos by COVID-19, there were plenty of concerns about how the team would be ready, and would manage WA health restrictions.
Giants Netball are scheduled to take on West Coast Fever in Perth for what would normally be a top of the table clash in the Suncorp Super Netball as both sides remain undefeated.
On Thursday morning, the Giants team travelled to Perth, three days early.
The Giants had played an away game against the Melbourne Vixens in Round Four and were concerned about the evolving situation that led to a Victorian lockdown.
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But the complexities of the last minute travel were magnified for April Brandley, star defender, and netball supermum.
Brandley, on Instagram, announced that her family will come first, and she has withdrawn from the game on Monday night to fly home.
Brandley explained that on Thursday, the short notice of the change in flight had thrown her family into chaos.
“Given the short notice (our flights confirmed midnight the night before), I didn’t have a chance to organise a carer, it was just Clay and I,” Brandley said.
As she hadn’t organised a carer, Brandley had decided to bring along her 15 month old son Clay with her, for the game.
While they were in transit from Sydney to Perth, Western Australian health officials introduced restrictions that meant that the Giants were required to self-isolate. The Giants have complied with those protocols on arrival, and with all directives of WA Health since arriving in Perth.
“The lack of clarity with our situation in Perth was frustrating, and being restricted to our hotel room with a toddler was unfair for him, and not the ideal preparation for me,” Brandley continued.
On Friday, the Giants were granted permission for a training session following all COVID-safe protocols, and have been granted exemption to play their game against the West Coast Fever as scheduled on Monday night.
On Saturday morning, Giants Netball General manager Tim Underwood issued a statement after Brandley announced that she would be returning home, and would miss the game against the Fever as a result.
“It was untenable for April to remain in hotel quarantine with a small child with no understanding on when the team may be granted an exemption,” Underwood said.
Brandley’s decision marks another reminder of the challenges that so many women face as professional athletes.
Sharni Norder, former Collingwood Magpies netball and AFLW star announced her retirement last year, citing among other things, the financial pressure she faced as a female athlete.
The Giants take on the West Coast Fever on Monday night at 6pm WST/8pm AEST.
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