Netball

Mentor’s social media plea proves successful

Geva Mentor played a key role in England’s first series win in New Zealand

England netballer Geva Mentor says she will be able to return to Australia, a day after her social media plea for help amid Covid-19 travel restrictions.

A private chartered plane has now been arranged for her on 7 October.

“My post 24 hours ago has come up trumps,” Mentor said.

“I can’t thank a wonderful person enough for being able to arrange a private chartered plane for me to get back into Australia, so from Auckland on 7 October I’ll be able to touch down in Australia and begin my two weeks’ quarantine.

“It’s obviously a really troubled time for everyone around the world and not being able to get to places as easy as they can. And I just hope that things are sorted as soon as possible, because it’s pretty isolating, pretty stressful and it’s definitely not fun to be part of.

“But in terms of my situation I’m super grateful, super thankful and obviously very appreciative.”

Mentor is based in Melbourne where she is captain of Collingwood Magpies in the country’s Super Netball league.

Quarantine-free travel from New Zealand to Australia is currently suspended and airlines have dramatically reduced the number of available flights between the two countries.

The England squad had originally been scheduled to fly from New Zealand to Australia on an exempt charter flight on Saturday, but will instead return home via Singapore on Wednesday.

That decision came after confirmation “evolving Covid-19 restrictions” in Australia had forced the series to be cancelled.

Mentor, who is unvaccinated, faces missing large parts of the Super Netball season while she stays with family on New Zealand’s North Island.

She had played her part in the Red Roses’ historic series win against New Zealand earlier this month.

“The rest of the girls can of course get on a flight back home to England, but that’s no good for me and I’m the only one who is effectively stranded here,” Mentor initially told BBC South Today.

“I’ve been in conversation with other sporting governing bodies and seeing if there’s any other teams stuck here trying to get back into Australia.

“I’ve also been trying to reach influencers, politicians, entrepreneurs – anyone really who might have a spot on a plane I can bag to make it back.

“I really don’t mind which port I get back to in Australia, I just need to get back there and have plenty of time to book into quarantine, prepare for pre-season and then the Commonwealth Games next year.”

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