THE two-week coronavirus-enforced break proved to be a blessing for Nirranda coach Steph Townsend and her side.
The playing mentor used the temporary shutdown of the Warrnambool and District league's season to re-group, rest and find players to cover two season-ending injuries to regular members of her side.
Star defender Cloe Marr is awaiting an MRI on a foot injury while midcourter Lisa Couch has ruptured her achilles.
The pair were injured in the last game before the lockdown break against Dennington.
Townsend recruited Koroit premiership player Zahli Adams, who has returned from the Northern Territory, to cover Marr. Kate Ryan has returned to cover Couch.
Adams was one of the Blues' best, along with fellow defender Lisa Anders and goalie Sophie Adams, in the 52-37 win over Panmure in her first appearance at Nirranda Recreation Reserve.
"It was a needed rest as we had a bit of soft tissue injuries and it was a time for me to re-group and assess the two season-ending injuries we had and address what needed to be done," Townsend said of the two-week hiatus.
"We have three senior sides in good contention for finals so I didn't want to pick from a lower grade and stuff up their chances. The rest is good and the byes are always nice but it's nice to be back."
Picturesque day for country footy but sadly due to coronavirus restrictions no crowds can watch two of the Warrnambool and District league’s top teams this year in Nirranda and Panmure battle it out on both the football field and netball court. @WboolStandardpic.twitter.com/CgZ7asjEDL— Sean Hardeman (@seanyhardeman) June 12, 2021
"It was hard and we found it hard for a number of reasons, one because of the uncertainty on coming back, then who we were playing and player availability wasn't an ideal lead up," she said.
"It felt a bit off but that is not taking anything away from them, they were very strong and their depth was awesome and we don't have that at the moment.
"We are carrying a lot of sore bodies so it was disappointing but it is one that I will wrap up and put away."
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Timboon Demons kept in touch with first spot and opened a gap to third with a win over Merrivale in one of Saturday's other WDFNL top-grade netball matches.
The Demons, who have just one defeat, edged out the Tigers 44-32 at Timboon Recreation Reserve.
South Rovers and Allansford were unable to be separated, drawing 37-all in their encounter.
The Cats narrowly fell short of overcoming a four-goal three-quarter-time deficit to steal the win.
Russells Creek and Old Collegians are equal on four wins in the fight for the fifth final spot with respective victories in their matches on Saturday.
Creek defeated Kolora-Noorat by 27 goals while the Warriors edged out Dennington by 15.
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