IT was all lining up for Bathurst's Lilli Mooney.
Her defending champion UTS Randwick Sparks were marching towards another finals series in the Under 23s Netball NSW Premier League competition before the COVID-19 lockdown in Sydney postponed those plans.
Then in early August organisers were forced to completely abandon the remainder of the competition when there were no signs of COVID numbers decreasing in the Greater Sydney region.
The decision is a blow for the talented player who travelled frequently for practice and committed plenty of hours to furthering her skills at the top level.
But Mooney is remaining upbeat.
The goal attack was the youngest member of last year's premiership side, at just 16 years old, and continued to further her game with a great season.
"The competition got cancelled a few weeks ago and the games had already been cut short around 10 weeks. That wasn't really much of a surprise to us," she said.
"We were having such a good year. We were second on the ladder and about to play the team on the top but unfortunately that got cut short, but that's okay."
The Sparks had dropped two games in a row - the only time they had done that this season - just prior to the lockdown coming into effect, and they were feeling ready to reset and make a run at competition leaders North Shore United.
They had games to come against the struggling Central Coast Heart and Capital Spirit when things came to a halt.
North Shore were on 22 points at the time of the Under 23s competition being postponed, with the Sparks directly behind them on 20 points.
- READ MORE: Bathurst Netball Association players wait to see what will become of their season
- READ ALSO: Bathurst Netball Association: Strong rivals, regional lockdown puts Collegians' title defence in doubt
- READ ALSO: Bathurst Netball Association: Bulldogs Verdelho's quick start leads to win over Collegians Mystified
IMB South Coast Blue were close by on 18 points and keeping the battle for the top two spots very interesting.
Mooney and the Sparks had managed to take down United 41-33 earlier in the season before the North Shore women got their revenge in a 53-42 result.
Finishing the season would of course have been an exciting thing for Mooney and her team, but in the eyes of the Bathurst netballer every hour of match time and training from 2021 was incredibly beneficial.
"It was going so well. I had a lot of changes in my life but I still got to go to netball and I still got to play," she said.
"It was a massive workload but it all paid off so much. Even the training was really beneficial. Even if I didn't play, all that training is would be so grateful for."
Mooney was able to test herself across different positions in the attacking third of the court and she relished the challenge.
"Our goal shooter got injured so I got to play there a bit. I don't think the pressure bothered me that much. I feel like I'm used to it now," she said.
"I haven't trained to play in goal shooter for a few years now so playing with the other goal attack threw me off for a second but we were able to quickly work it out and we actually did really well. We ended up winning that game by quite a lot."
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can access our trusted content: