SOUTH-WEST clubs are seeing the positives and negatives as they prepare for the first summer of sport not succeeding a football season since World War II.
Pre-seasons are in full-swing across the district as cricket looms closer.
South West Cricket Association's season will start on Saturday, while Grassmere Cricket Association and Warrnambool and District Cricket Association are scheduled for October 31.
Nestles coach Alex Strauch said the club was planning to spend time at the beach, racecourse and in the nets throughout this season.
He said the club would juggle time between the locations to maintain its identity while its historical home - Reid Oval - was being refurbished.
Factory will play at Jones Oval during Reid Oval's renovations.
Strauch said Nestles' list dynamic meant a heavy fitness focus in pre-season, ever without winter sports, wasn't required.
"We've had a few guys in our fast bowler group who've been running on Monday nights," he said.
"We're in a bit of a different place as most of our players, barring myself and 'Wiz' (captain Geoff Williams) are under 25.
"Most of our guys are naturally fit. It's about being fit enough to bowl and getting that muscle memory back. The guys are going to the gym in their own time so it's never been a big concern for us."
Strauch said Cricket Victoria's coronavirus guidelines, which allow clubs to train in separate groups of 10 players, were encouraging his players to practice fielding.
"Usually the footy grounds are stuffed from the season and weather and the restrictions have sort of forced us to split and be spaced out from the nets," he said.
Russells Creek co-coach Darren Loft said one-on-one sessions, led by his co-coach Andrew Thomson, were key before group training started.
It's about being fit enough to bowl and getting that muscle memory back. The guys are going to the gym in their own time so it's never been a big concern for us.Alex Strauch
Just four dedicated footballers - Blake Evans, Connor Macleod, Joe Kenna and Matt Petherick - are division one cricketers in Loft's side.
"We've been getting good, positive numbers to training," Loft said.
"It seems pre-season is getting earlier every season. A lot of our guys do a lot of their own fitness stuff too, and with no football, they're feeling pretty fresh.
"It'll just be about getting the cricket muscles because they're fairly different to what you're using for footy or another sport."
He said Creek's leaders - including former captain Cam Williams and vice-captain Jimmy Elford - were key features while the club had to train in groups of 10.
"They've both been at the club a long time now and are well-respected," he said.
Woodford skipper Nick Butters said his players generally spend time indoors for pre-season but hadn't been able to due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"It's been a bit different, this one," he said.
"We normally like to get in and do a bit of throw down stuff and hit a fair volume of balls. "We haven't been able to hit as many as we'd like but from a batting perspective, we'll be ready to go."
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