ONE of Scone's brightest young sports stars, Olivia Taylor, has taken an important step in her representative journey by being selected in the Hunter Academy of Sport's 2020 netball program.
The Scone and District Netball Association representative was recently named as part of the organisation's 15-16 years' talent squad.
Taylor will be joined by Muswellbrook's Meg Haylen, who also plays for Scone and District Netball Association.
The girls joined the 40-strong outfit that assembled at the Hunter Academy of Sport's orientation day at Hunter Valley Grammar School on Saturday.
There, they were introduced to the coaching staff and presented with their uniform by former Academy member and now national netball league rep Sam Poolman.
The Academy's netball talent development program gives youngsters from across the wider Hunter region the opportunity to receive training and tutelage of a world-class standard without the need for moving or traveling to a metropolitan centre.
It also plays a vital role in the Netball NSW Athlete Pathway by identifying, monitoring and developing the skills of young netballers.
The initiative will consist of on-court skills training, fitness and athlete education, as per the Netball Australia Develop a Diamond program.
Greater Bank will continue its long-term association with the Hunter Academy of Sport in 2020, once again taking on the major sponsorship of the netball program.
Head of marketing and customer experience Matt Hingston said the partnership was about more than just providing a financial benefit to the Academy and athletes.
"Greater Bank is proud to continue its relationship with the Hunter Academy of Sport's netball program," he said.
"We've taken great delight in seeing the dedication of these players and the coaching staff and look forward to being part of their representative journey in 2020.
"Our partnership however provides more than funding to help offset the program costs for the athletes.
"This year we will also be conducting financial literacy education sessions in association with the University of Newcastle, which will assist in their personal development both on and off the court.
"Taylor will train weekly with the squad in the lead-up to the NSW State Titles in June where she'll represent the Scone association."
In April, the girls will take to the court for Hunter at the 2020 Your Local Club Academy Games at the Maitland Basketball Stadium.
Later in the year, they'll travel to Orange for the Greater Bank Academy Challenge where they will compete against 10 other regional Academies of Sport from across the state.