Haythornthwaite gets permission to return

The England captain is one of five players granted exemption to return down under.

Phumza Maweni (Sunshine Coast Lightning), Lenize Potgieter and Shadine Van der Merwe (Adelaide Thunderbirds) will return from South Africa, while fellow England Rose Layla Guscoth (Adelaide Thunderbirds), who has been working as a doctor in Birmingham to fight Covid19, is also returning.

The NSW Swifts can confirm that England international Natalie Haythornthwaite has returned to Australia ahead of the revised 2020 Suncorp Super Netball season, and entered quarantine for a mandatory two-week period.

The attacker, who was a key player in last year’s Premiership success, returned to England in March when the 2020 Super Netball season was suspended to help combat the spread of the Covid19 pandemic.

In her time away, Haythornthwaite has maintained a full training schedule in isolation and kept in contact with the club’s coaching and playing roster staff digitally.

With elite and community sport in the process of gearing up as Government restrictions begin to ease, NSW Swifts Executive General Manager Nikki Horton said she was delighted to have Haythornthwaite back.

“Natalie is a really key player for us and a leader both on and off the court,” she said.

“Like other players across the league, Natalie’s attitude and work ethic has been exceptional and she is really looking forward to meeting up with the rest of the team as soon as it deemed safe to do so.

“It is not easy being so far from home at a time like this, but I think it shows the calibre of people and athletes we have in Super Netball.

“The world’s best make massive commitments to play here and add hugely to what is the best female team sport competition on the planet.

“I would like to thank our high-performance staff who worked very closely with Nat and all our players to ensure their fitness levels have remained high during the lockdown.

“Today is an important milestone towards getting Super Netball back on track in 2020.”

Haythornthwaite is one of five international Super Netball athletes who have been granted government permission to return to Australia.

The Super Netball league successfully sought exemptions from the Australian Border Force Commissioner for the five athletes to re-enter Australia ahead of the 2020 season. Like Haythornthwaite, upon arrival all returning athletes will adhere to the biosecurity measures that are in place to help prevent the spread of Covid19, including 14 days of quarantine in accommodation nominated by respective state governments.

The developments come as the league issues strict guidelines to all Super Netball clubs outlining the medical and logistical measures that need to be adhered to when teams are given the green light to return to training.

Super Netball CEO Chris Symington says league management are in the final stages of confirming how and when a season will take place.

“There are still several moving parts we’re working through in confirming detail of the 2020 Suncorp Super Netball season and we have many people working tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure this is locked away as soon as possible.

“We appreciate our fans are patiently waiting for news on when and how the 2020 season will happen and we hope to be announcing further information around this by the end of the week.”