Melbourne Vixens defender Olivia Lewis (Picture: Melbourne Vixens/Twitter,Design by Madeline Irwin)

Last season, young Melbourne Vixens defender Olivia Lewis didn’t only play in a Grand Final for her new club, but she lost to her former club, the West Coast Fever.

Winning their maiden premiership, she watched her former teammates revel while she experienced heartbreak. Having taken a chance on Lewis in 2019, the Fever were disappointed to lose the rising star when she signed with the Melbourne Vixens after three years.

Olivia Lewis spoke exclusively to The Inner Sanctum about how she felt after the Grand Final result went against her and the Vixens and how they plan to atone in 2023.

“It was a funny one, obviously I was absolutely guttered not to win with the Vixens but then there was a part of me that I guess I’m still quite close with some of the girls at [the] Fever so sport’s quite bittersweet like that,” Lewis told The Inner Sanctum.

“Obviously it was devastating not to win but I guess it was a bit of a silver lining in that I know how hard the Fever girls had worked to get there so you can still be happy for your friends at the same time.

“I would have loved to have won that one but I guess to help you move on a little bit you have to still find the positives in it, it just means we will [have to] get them this year.”

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With Visit Victoria entering a partnership with Netball Australia, the 2023 Suncorp Super Netball Grand Final will be hosted at John Cain Arena. Being one of two teams (with Collingwood) that will draw a ‘home’ crowd, the Vixens are focused on making their second consecutive Grand Final.

“We’ve all kind of said we don’t want to have a grand final in Melbourne and not be playing in it, I don’t think there would be much worse than that,” she explained.

“It’s very exciting and the opportunity to play in front of a home crowd is huge and I’d definitely say it’s an advantage that that’s there and a possibility for us.

“We just want to make the grand final regardless but that’s just the added sweetener, an extra motivator to get us there at the end of the season.”

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Having had experienced Australian Diamond and fellow Vixens defender Jo Weston out with a calf injury, Lewis had to step into the starting goal keeper role to release Emily Mannix into Weston’s goal defence spot.

After moving to the Vixens, Lewis has spent time on the bench coming onto the court in an ‘impact player’ capacity or based on match-ups against taller or holding circles. She described how she approaches each game not knowing how much opportunity she will receive behind Mannix and Weston.

“I guess I honestly try to treat every week [the same and] I prepare regardless of whether Jo is injured or in the team or not, because I want to be ready to take the court, regardless of if I’m starting or not,” Lewis said.

“I’ve been trying to prepare the best I can, but kind of not with that in the forefront of my mind but just trying to prepare the same regardless of whether I think I’ll be taking to the court or not.”

She then explained how she has come to prepare for each game with five years of experience at SSN level behind her.

“I guess it comes down to just experience and just five more years of professional behaviours and that goes for not just game day but the week leading up to it,” she said.

“[In terms of] my preparation, I feel like I’ve started to finesse it a bit more [and] at the end of the day, I just want to step up and play my role for the team so if I can do that by being out on court and playing good netball then that’s the ideal thing for me.”

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