Newcastle Netball has made the decision to cancel all August 8 games.

UPDATE, August 8 – 12:41pm: Charlestown Netball has also announced the cancellation of all August 8 matches at the Jack Stewart Netball Courts in a post on Facebook just after midday.

“This wasn’t an easy call to make, but the safety of our players, coaches, umpires, and the broader netball community are at the forefront of our thoughts,” the association wrote. “We have made this decision for the best interest of our players and community.”

ORIGINAL STORY CONTINUES BELOW:

Newcastle Netball has officially cancelled all August 8 games, including all top-grade matches in the recently-returned Greater Club Series, following a series of COVID-19 hotspots that popped up across the Hunter this week.

“Recognising the evolving COVID-19 situation in the Newcastle area, the NNA executive has decided to cancel games set down for Saturday, August 8,” the association confirmed in an update on Facebook on August 7.

“This has been a really difficult decision to make just as the season has started, but with the size of our association, we have an obligation to keep our players and their families safe and healthy through the next few days and weeks.”

NNA added they were hoping to “get back to playing netball” as soon as next Saturday.

The decision to cancel all Round 2 matches on Saturday comes after NSW Health declared Newcastle a NSW COVID-19 hotspot on Thursday, due to a man with the virus visiting several pubs and attending the Newcastle Jets game on Sunday afternoon.

NNA are hoping to return to play next weekend, depending on the “evolving” situation.

Inner-city Newcastle high schools St Francis Xavier’s College and St Pius were both closed after positive cases were recorded by students mid-week. The St Pius X case was a junior Jets player who travelled to Sydney for an academy match.

That same case reportedly had 140 close contacts, including friends and students. The family is isolating for 14 days. Hunter New England Health has recommended all in contact with the cases also isolate for 14 days.

Newcastle Netball returned after a first-round delay last Saturday, and put the first round of the 2020 season in the books. Souths, Nova, and 2019’s defending champs West Leagues all recorded clean sweeps in the new-look club championship.

The Chronicle will continue updating readers on the situation as it develops.