FOR Adam and Loren Neville, the Southern Lakes United Football Club is the focus of their daily lives.
From running training sessions to overseeing game days, the couple is at the club at Dora Creek, in south-west Lake Macquarie, on average five days a week.
"Everything we do is to keep that club running," said Mr Neville, who is the president.
"The club holds a special place in our hearts," added Mrs Neville, the club's registrar and game-day coordinator. "It's not a club, it's a family."
However, for the past few weeks, Adam and Loren Neville have been cut off from their football family of about 200 members, ranging in age from 4 to 56. For the couple lives at San Remo in the Central Coast Local Government Area, which is subject to the strict COVID-19 restrictions for the Greater Sydney zone.
The COVID-inflicted pain has extended to Mr Neville's employment. He said he had been stood down as a school camp activities instructor for a Morisset company, because the work had dried up.
"It's not right we're lumped in with Sydney," said Adam Neville. "We're not a part of Sydney, and there's no cases on the coast."
"I'm struggling to cope," said Mrs Neville. "There's only so much you can do remotely."
Loren Neville estimated at least half the club members and their families were affected in some way or another by the lockdown, because they lived in the Central Coast area or parents worked in Greater Sydney and weren't allowed to attend games.
"How do you explain to a 10-year-old kid, 'I know Lake Macquarie is at the end of your street, but you're classed as being in the Central Coast'?," she asked.
One of those young players affected by the lockdown is Kai Wilson. His family lives at Wyee, which is in the Lake Macquarie Local Government Area, but his school is only five kilometres away at Mannering Park, which is just over the boundary in the Central Coast LGA.
Since the lockdown was enacted on June 26, Kai has been mostly home schooled by his mother, Debbie Wilson, who works at Somersby for a building products company. However, since Somersby is in the Central Coast LGA, she is working remotely, as well as being the home teaching supervisor.
While Kai would usually be allowed to still play in his Under-10s team, that changed last week when the Year 4 student went to school for a day.
"I knew it would put him back into quarantine, but he needed to see his peers," explained Mrs Wilson.
So Kai can't play soccer this weekend, and "he's not so happy about it".
"It's an outlet, to see his mates, and to get out there and play a game he loves," said Mrs Wilson, adding her son could return to the field on July 31.
She questioned the Central Coast LGA being in the Greater Sydney lockdown.
"I understand the importance of it, and I know there's got to be a line somewhere, but I'm not sure it's in the right place," Mrs Wilson said.
State MP for Swansea Yasmin Catley has written to Health Minister Brad Hazzard about the lockdown's impact on her constituents in the Central Coast LGA.
Ms Catley wrote that her office had been "inundated with frustrated residents who are currently subject to the lockdown orders despite having no active cases within the community".
"I understand the frustration of these community members and support their calls for suburbs within the Central Coast LGA located in the Swansea electorate to no longer be subject to the lockdown order," Ms Catley wrote.
She also wrote that the extended lockdown was having a financial impact on households, with many unable to work and small businesses unable to operate.
"The loss of income is causing significant distress to these families," she wrote in the letter, dated July 13.
Yasmin Catley told the Herald on Tuesday she was yet to receive a reply.
A spokesperson for Mr Hazzard referred the Herald to Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant's comments at Monday's media conference, where she emphasised the need to restrict mobility and interactions.
Loren Neville said she hoped the Health Minister took into account "those people who are missing out", including the members of Southern Lakes United FC who regarded their sport as "essential" to their mental well-being.
"Sport for kids, it's hard enough to keep them in it these days," said Mrs Nevile. "And I don't want to be pushing them away."
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