NSW Swifts coach Briony Akle concedes homesickness is creeping into her squad as the Super Netball season enters its second month inside a Queensland hub.
While some players are lucky enough to have family by their side throughout the lengthy coronavirus-enforced displacement, others have left whole lives behind.
For the second-placed Swifts, their time away from home will likely extend until the end of September.Credit:Getty Images
Despite the hardship, the defending premiers have not lacked in motivation and shown no signs of fatigue from the condensed season, and Akle said her charges are determined to tback to back.
"We've basically decided we've come this far, let's make it worth it," she said. "We've been away this long – mentally why would we give in?"
"There’s never been a season where off-court preparation is so vital to ensure people's collective mental wellbeing is looked after."
That doesn't mean Akle is going easy on her side, believing there is still much more to give. That is particularly the case with on-court combinations, players fine-tune on the go without the benefit of a pre-season, in the hope all will be perfect come finals time.
"I think we haven't played our Swifts way and we haven't hit the pinnacle yet," Akle said. "We are winning games, but not how we want to win them."
That means hitting their stride in Saturday's round-10 clash with the Firebirds.
"We have played some brilliant netball this year but we never seem to do things easy," she said. "Against the Magpies we had some beautiful patches of play, but silly errors allowed them back into the contest."
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