The coaching caper at the best of times is a challenging and complex environment.
Throw in the ongoing impacts of COVID-19, player unavailability and the usual management of injuries and it's created a start to the 2022 season across the Warrnambool and District league netball of uncertainty for clubs which are scrambling to fill teams each week.
Isolation requirements in the early parts of this season are causing chaos for coaches and for returning Russells Creek mentor Stacy Dunkley it's been an eye-opening start to 2022 as she looks to build team cohesion and develop her squad.
It makes it hard to work on what you want to work on as a team- Stacy Dunkley
"It's frustrating for sure," she told The Standard.
"You just can't get a squad together regularly and we don't have unlimited numbers like other clubs have, so we're having a lot missing training because of isolation and then they're available Saturday so it makes it hard to work on what you want to work on as a team.
"It is what it is, you're having to play juniors and dip into other squads which has a ripple effect across the board.
"As soon as you lose a few with COVID or injury you basically don't have a team."
Dunkley said there was still so much uncertainty across the board.
"We came into round one and had an injury and you're already unsettled - you're forever scratching your heads," she said. "Even last year we thought it (COVID-19) was done, but it still seems to be appearing. We don't know what's going to come and it's definitely still rearing its head."
As the country continues to open up and virtually scrap all isolation requirements and restrictions moving forward, the Creekers midcourter said the key moving forward was 'patience'.
"Especially with a whole heap of new girls, you've just to chip away at it and be as efficient as possible - we started with an open squad this year before going away and picking an A Grade squad and A reserve side," she said.
"It has disrupted a lot of players, they are used to having a side picked straight away, so it just comes down to patience moving forward, you can only come together with experience in time - you can't just click your fingers and have it."
Despite the challenges, the Creekers have been gallant so far this season, including a competitive showing against Old Collegians in round three.
"Even though we didn't win, we could walk away with our head held high," Dunkley said.
"We are improving as we go along which is great and I'm happy the girls fought for all four quarters - we can have lapses and that didn't happen so I was really happy with them."
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