The Super Netball season is already feeling the affects of Covid, with one player donning rival colours this weekend in unsual circumstances.
In an unusual set of circumstances, the West Coast Fever’s Chelsea Pitman will play for the GWS Giants this weekend after their squad was ravaged by Covid.
With a mammoth six players out due to health and safety protocols for their Super Netball clash against the Adelaide Thunderbirds on Sunday, the league has allowed the Giants to bring in Pitman — who is a training partner with the Fever — as a replacement player.
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Under Super Netball’s Covid contingency guidelines, teams are allowed to select a nominated athlete as a temporary replacement if their own squad’s list of contracted players and training partners is exhausted.
With the league’s approval, Pitman has signed a temporary replacement player contract with the Giants for the Round 2 match against her old team the Thunderbirds.
The Fever got their season off to a flyer in Round 1 with a recordbreaking score and gave the veteran midcourter their blessing to play for another team this week.
“We’ve given Chelsea Pitman our support to step in as a temporary replacement player for the Giants this weekend so that their game can go ahead against the Thunderbirds,” West Coast Fever general manager Sue Gaudion said.
“We know it’s going to be another challenging year for all clubs and we are committed to doing whatever we can to help the season continue.
“It’s also a great chance for Chelsea to get some SSN court time and of course we look forward to seeing her back in green at Fever for the remainder of the season.”
Pitman tweeted: “Thankful @WestCoastFever is supporting me in this opportunity, in what is something different for the league and myself (and all).
“Looking forward to cherishing every moment in this journey of what 2022 brings for me.”
The England Roses representative comes into the Giants’ squad along with training partners Charli Fidler, Ang Frketic and Erin O’Brien.
With less than half their first choice team available, the Giants face a tough task against Super Netball’s dark horses in the Thunderbirds.
Super Netball denied the Giants’ request to postpone the game to a later date, as the league showed it is hellbent on not having a disrupted season.
GWS will be without starters Sophie Dwyer, Jamie-Lee Price, Amy Parmenter, as well as training partners Eliza Burton, Jemma Donoghue and Nat Sligar.
If she makes it on court for the Giants during Sunday’s match, it will be a fitting return to Suncorp Super Netball for Pitman, with the 33-year-old set to come up against her former club the Adelaide Thunderbirds.
Pitman last held a Super Netball contract with the Thunderbirds in season 2020 and since then has been playing in Netball South Australia’s Premier League competition before accepting a training partner position with the West Coast Fever.
The former Thunderbirds captain has 129 games experience, having represented Adelaide Thunderbirds, West Coast Fever, Queensland Firebirds and NSW Swifts.
The Giants take on the Thunderbirds at 4pm (AEST) on Sunday afternoon with live coverage on Fox Netball and Kayo Freebies.