2018 has been a year filled with ticked boxes for West Coast Fever’s latest recruit Olivia Lewis.
A Suncorp Super Netball contract, tick.
2018 West Australian Netball League Premiership, tick.
Coastal Sharks Most Valuable Player award, tick.
Grand Final MVP, tick
Western Sting MVP,tick
2018 WANL Team of the Year, tick
Jill McIntosh Medal Winner, tick.
While a professional contract for the State’s elite netball team is a significant achievement for anyone, Lewis is now set to face the biggest trial of her netball journey, challenging for court time against international stars Courtney Bruce and Stacey Francis.
“I see them as the best defensive combination in the league, so just the fact I get to be around them week in week out, I’ll learn just as much as I can,” Lewis said.
The 19-year-old is another testament to Netball WA’s Athlete Pathway, following teammates Jess Anstiss, Ingrid Coyler, Kaylia Stanton and Courtney Bruce as the latest WA born and bred player.
It’s not the first time Lewis has had to earn her stripes as the baby of the team, playing in open competitions when she was 13, making the 17U State Team at 14 and 21U at 16.
Lewis has won 17U MVP and 19U MVP honours at the National Netball Championships along the way.
“I have always played against bigger bodies and that’s probably helped a bit in my development.”
“You have to play up to them and I am a pretty competitive person, so I wasn’t happy to be towards the bottom, I always tried to work my way up and be the best.”
“Having natural ability from a young age and getting by on that, but you can’t just get by on talent it’s so much more than that.”
Lewis’ netball journey began in Rockingham at the age of 6, moving up the ranks to eventually secure a League position with Coastal Sharks.
Sharks Reserves Coach Naomi Pannell has been a mentor in Lewis’ netball pathway and said the first time she saw her in action she knew she was set for success.
“She’s basically like a second daughter to me,” Pannell said.
“I expect to see her on the court next year, in that goal defence, wing defence role, I think once she gets on there and gets used to the speed, she’s just going to power along.”
“Give that kid two years and she’ll be a little Courtney Bruce.”
After two seasons as a training partner Lewis said the guidance provided by Head Coach Stacey Marinkoich had been essential in helping her netball development flourish.
“She’s not afraid to pull you up if you have done something wrong, she’s done that with being really honest with me and what she expects from me, and I always know my place with Stacey.”
“I feel very privileged at such a young age.”
Pannell said although she will be pushing for court time against one of the best defensive duos in Suncorp Super Netball, the young gun is in more than safe hands.
“She’s got those two to look up to who are such amazing athletes, but they’re also someone who will encourage her,” Pannell said.
“I think she’s can only get the best of their knowledge.”
With the future at Lewis’ doorstep her destiny is now in her hands and said she hopes her story can inspire the next group of ambitious netballers.
“The advice I’d give is just give it a crack, even if you don’t make it the first time there’s so many examples of netballers out there that didn’t make their state team at first try.”
West Coast Fever will aim to go one step further for the 2019 season of Suncorp Super Netball and wants you to become part of the Fever Family.
Click here to Register your interest in becoming a West Coast Fever Member in 2019.