They may have arrived earlier than expected, but familiar sights, sounds and smells of winter sport came flooding on Saturday when footy and netball returned in a big way.
Big crowds flocked to grounds all over the Limestone Coast and returned to their Saturday rituals of passionately playing, volunteering or supporting their respective clubs during the opening rounds of the Western Border and Mid South Eastern leagues.
Kick off provided a few surprises with Casterton Sandford scoring a breakthrough win and Nangwarry getting close to breaking an even bigger drought.
Meanwhile, on the netball courts Kalangadoo’s dominant recent record took a hit and the big guns of Western Border flexed their muscles.
But the sporting community was the real winner with thousands emerging from the COVID-19 blues to brave the elements and support their teams.