“IN the end, sport is about finding the means to connect, so returning to training for the first time last Sunday, and just being together again on the hockey field after so long and when screen time has become so much a part of our lives, was a great moment for all our junior and senior players,” Maccabi Hockey Club president Daniel Grunfeld said.
“That’s the whole purpose of Maccabi, so we’re very excited about getting back and being able to look forward to starting the season soon.”
Real momentum in the pathway to normalcy in grassroots sport is being made across the Maccabi Victoria community this week, following the Victorian government’s announcement of a scheduled easing of restrictions, elevating spirits and motivation levels of players of all ages to a level not seen since the COVID-19 outbreak began.
The official green light has been given for full-contact training and matches to resume, subject to strict guidelines being finalised within days, from June 21 for players aged 18 and under as well as tennis and golf players of all ages.
Clearance has also been given for senior sports to resume full-contact training from July 13, and matches from July 20.
While sport associations, member clubs and local councils will need to go over the details of competition guidelines being devised by the state government with a fine-tooth comb – and indoor-based sports may require additional time to return – Maccabi Victoria clubs can now prepare with certainty, and several clubs already know when their shortened winter seasons will start.
The Maccabi Cup national golf leaderboard recommenced in NSW, Victoria and Western Australia last week, and Maccabi Victoria Tennis Club members are set to start their winter Pennant and junior competitions as early as June 26.
Junior football is likely to be the first team sport to return to competition play. Although starting dates are still to be set in stone by Football Victoria, Maccabi FC Caulfield is preparing for the winter junior competition to resume anytime from June 28.
AJAX Footy Club received confirmation from the SMJFL that their round one matches in the postponed junior winter season will be held on July 12, while the club’s men’s and women’s teams are pencilling in July 25 to begin their 2020 VAFA competitions.
Maccabi Netball Club’s junior teams were thrilled to return to on-court training, albeit non-contact, last week after 11 weeks of Zoom-based training at home. Smiles on faces were abundant, and the club is hopeful that the spring season can commence in mid-July.
Grunfeld said the Maccabi Hockey Club has been growing its player base steadily over the past five years, so despite hockey effectively being put into deep freeze for the last two months, the club is in great shape.
“While we have a few vacancies in our U16s, our club will hit 150 players this season, which is a record.
“Six years ago we fielded two hockey teams, and now we are set to have eight or even nine teams across juniors, men’s, women’s and veterans.”
In further good news, the club has appointed Shane Campbell – who played in a Maccabiah Games silver-medal-winning Australian team – as head coach, and will soon be moving its training hub from Albert Park to Elwood High School, enabling all teams to train at the one venue.
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"In the end, sport is about finding the means to connect, so returning to training for the first time last Sunday, and just being together again on the hockey field after so long and when screen time has become so much a part of our lives, was a great moment for all our junior and senior players," Maccabi Hockey Club president Daniel Grunfeld said. ???? @peterhaskin_photography
And in a boost for lawn bowlers, with the Queensland border expected to reopen next month, Maccabi Lawn Bowls has confirmed a reservation with Mermaid Beach Bowling Club in the Gold Coast to host its 2020 national bowls carnival from August 23-28, and already more than 65 expressions of interest to play in the event have been registered.