Ban­dits all the way to Fever

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - SPORT - Jessica Nico

THIS time last year, Olivia Lewis was like any other teenager with dreams of mak­ing it big on the net­ball court.

It was a dream that started early on for the 19-yearold, who first ran on to the court as an en­thu­si­as­tic seven-year-old with a school team be­fore mov­ing to the Ban­dits Net­ball Club in Rock­ing­ham.

She said it was a sport she fell in love with im­me­di­ately.

“It was the sport that all my friends were go­ing to play and I was fairly tall for my age, which I thought would help,” she said.

“I en­joyed it for the re­la­tion­ships I’ve formed through the sport, the com­pet­i­tive na­ture, and hav­ing the op­por­tu­nity to push and chal­lenge my­self on a daily ba­sis.”

The young de­fender has al­ready tasted some suc­cess on the big stage, hav­ing made the Coastal Sharks academy in 2013 and 2015, played U18s, re­serves and league com­pe­ti­tions with the Sharks since 2014, and mak­ing U17 and U19 state and na­tional squads mul­ti­ple times each.

Cou­ple that with a slew of in­di­vid­ual ac­co­lades in­clud­ing U17 and U19 na­tional MVP awards, West­ern Sting MVP and the Jill McIn­tosh Medal as the WA Net­ball League’s MVP, there were few pin­na­cles Lewis hadn’t achieved in her young ca­reer.

That was un­til Septem­ber, when two years of hard work as a West Coast Fever train­ing part­ner paid off when she was given a con­tract to join the team’s se­nior list for the 2019 sea­son and beyond.

“I don’t think it sunk in for a lit­tle while but the re­al­i­sa­tion that I’d be able to do what I love most as my job and get to be a part of the best com­pe­ti­tion in the world is the best feel­ing,” Lewis said.

“It has al­ways been a dream. Ever since I started play­ing and tak­ing it more se­ri­ously, the end goal was to play for Fever as the high­est level pos­si­ble in WA.”

She said all ath­letes had to start some­where and en­cour­aged young netballers to fol­low their dreams.

“Don’t be afraid to just give things a go or make mis­takes; that’s how you learn,” she said.

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie www.com­mu­ni­typix.com.au d489036

Olivia Lewis is a new sign­ing to the West Coast Fever, hav­ing started play­ing club net­ball in Rock­ing­ham.

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