When Trinidad and Tobago netball international Daystar Swift said goodbye to her partner and two-year-old daughter in January, she had no idea it would be more than seven months before she saw them again.
Swift travelled to New Zealand on January 8 to join the Auckland-based Northern Stars and play in the ANZ Premiership.
But less than a week after playing her first game for the side, and two weeks from when her family was set to join her in Auckland, New Zealand moved into Level 4 lockdown.
"Their tickets were pushed back and that's when the borders closed so we knew that they would not have been able to make it," Swift told the Herald . "After that, it just went downhill from there."
With little clarity at the time over whether the Premiership season would be able to restart, Swift was offered to return home - but it was too late with the borders in Trinidad and Tobago already closed.
"I realised early on they wouldn't be able to come over. It was just a matter of me accepting that," Swift said.
"It definitely was a mix of emotions for me, I really wanted to reconnect with them but I also wanted to stay because personally I felt I had not accomplished what I came here for and it would just be me leaving it uncompleted.
"I wanted to be here and last the entire season."
The season restarted on June 19 and has been uninterrupted up until this week, when Auckland returned to alert Level 3 and the rest of the country to Level 2.
Netball New Zealand has confirmed that all games will be drawn due to the change in alert levels. It means the Round 10 matches – held on Friday 14th and Saturday 15th (Auckland), Sunday 16th (Wellington and Dunedin) and Monday 17th August (Wellington) - will not be played, with each team awarded two points for the draw.
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It's frustrating news for Swift, who ended up being sidelined with a knee injury for most of the revamped competition.
She now has just one game left in the purple dress - should it go ahead - in Invercargill for the finals series, with a third v fourth consolation final against the Northern Mystics. She's set to depart Auckland the following day, which will be her daughter's third birthday.
Although relieved to be heading home at long last, Swift said there's still a number of hurdles to jump.
"Our borders are still closed and it's really difficult to get that exemption to return," she said. "It will be difficult, once I do get back I will have mandatory two weeks quarantine.
"Twice now they had to change the dates because flights were being cancelled so I'm currently looking to go to Barbados which is close by and probably wait it out until our borders are reopened so I can get in.
"If I am in Barbados and I get the exemption to return, I'll at least be closer to home. It's definitely a waiting game for me."
Despite the unfortunate circumstances of what was supposed to be the professional break of her career, Swift said there have been positives.
"There isn't much to look back on in terms of court time and gameplay. I wasn't able to get the court time I would've liked, however, it's an experience that I cherish and I actually wouldn't have had it any other way," Swift said.
"After last year's Netball World Cup I thought 'that's it, I'm done with netball' but I think coming here has definitely renewed my love for the game and I wanted to give at least another Commonwealth Games a shot before I call it quits.
"Me being here and the other Trinidadian player who plays for the [Southern] Steel, Kalifa McCollin, both of us being here we've definitely learnt a lot. Our knowledge of the game has grown and is definitely something we would like to take back and share with the rest of the netballers back home."