Scone netball superstars Olivia Taylor and Meg Haylen. Image supplied.

When Scone’s Olivia Taylor first started playing netball in 2011 she enjoyed the sport, but it wasn’t just the competitiveness and the action that kept her coming back to the court. What kept her coming back was the friendships she’d made.

“I had a few friends from school that were playing and they asked me to join up with them, so I did to just have some fun,” said the young Scone star. “I ended up falling in love with it, and played for years and years after that.”

Olivia Taylor playing in Scone.

As it turned out, Taylor had a knack for the fast-paced court sport. From her first years at the Scone Netball Association, the star earned her place on the region’s representative squad, playing four straight years from 12s to 15s.

Two straight player of the finals in 2017 and 2018 in Intermediate and A-Grade respectively awaited Taylor next, before she stepped into the Hunter Academy of Sport team.

All through her flourishing career, Scone’s star kept making friends.

“I have been so lucky with the teams that I have been in, I’ve met a lot of people that love netball the same as me, and that makes it so much easier to keep playing and keep wanting to play,” she said.

“If I hadn’t been playing with so many great people I maybe would have stopped playing, but throughout rep, through Aspire, and academy, there’s been these amazing players and friends that have kept pushing me and making the game fun.”

One friendship Olivia didn’t expect to forge when she first took up the opportunity at Aspire Strive was with the development program’s founder Sam Poolman. The Giants defender has been a leading light for Taylor, and she’s learned so much from.

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“It’s really good, you all want to push as hard as you can and when you’re playing with friends you can grow together and learn together,” Olivia said.

“Sam is such a nice person, she’s so welcoming for all the girls. I’ve met some of my best friends through Aspire and Sam made sure that we were all friends there. We all still keep in touch. Sam encouraged us, and everyone wanted to follow her image.”

Now Taylor has her eyes locked firmly on the future: “I have a few friends that just want to go forward with me, I’m so grateful that as we move through higher levels I can do it with familiar faces. We can help each other out, which is very cool.”

If you are interested in joining the Aspire program, you can register for one of the program’s limited spots at aspirenetball.com/registration.