Becoming a key cog in the Vixens’ defence, Olivia Lewis fits into an extremely versatile outfit which boasts the right blend of youth and experience. She believes this mix and versatility will be the biggest weapon in the defensive end for Melbourne this season.
With club stalwarts Emily Mannix and Jo Weston registering over 200 games between them, and young defenders Kate Eddy and Olivia Lewis notching up over 100 appearances in the league, the defensive end for the Vixens has both experience and youth on its side.
Olivia Lewis spoke exclusively to The Inner Sanctum about the unity of the defenders and how they feel their versatility is something that will help curb the opposition attacking ends.
“I mean it’s just awesome [being a part of this unit], I feel like we are such a strong unit on and off the court but especially on the court,” Lewis told The Inner Sanctum.
“I feel like the versatility that we have like seeing ‘Keddy’ (Eddy) being able to go in [goal defence], ‘Em’ (Mannix) out in [goal defence] as well.
[Then] Jo can swing into wing defence sometimes, like we can all cover different positions which is really exciting and honestly I think it’s just made me better player being able to play alongside those girls.”
Coming to a relatively successful team in the Vixens, Lewis has many teammates to learn from in defence and in attack. Training with and against four international players (including three with 77 Diamonds caps combined) has been one of the best things for the young defender, who’s learnt so much at the club under their tutelage.
“Obviously Jo’s (Weston) been in [the Diamonds] for so long and since I came to the Vixens she’s just given me so much knowledge,” she said.
“Em’s been in there in the past [as well] but it’s also [good] playing up against ‘Kip’ (Kiera Austin) and even ‘MJ’ (Mwai Kumwenda) [who] are both international players.
“I learn so much from the defenders but getting to train against attackers that are of that high quality as well only makes my game better so [I’m] very lucky.”
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Another person that has made a difference to Lewis and her netball at the Vixens is incoming defensive coach and former Australian Diamond Sharni Norder (née Layton). Having played elite sport for the best part of 15 years over two codes (netball and AFLW), Norder has inspired Lewis from a young age.
“This year [one mentor would be] Sharni Norder, she’s been the specialist defensive coach and I’ve found that I’ve really taken a lot from her this pre-season,” Lewis explained.
“She’s probably one of the players I’ve idolised the most growing up, so to be able to work so closely with her and kind of getting to know her as a person as well as the way that she coaches and the way that she used to play it’s been awesome.
“I really feel like it’s been huge for my game leading into the season.”Embed from Getty Images
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