Newcastle netballer Madeleine Taylor caps 'fantastic year' with NSW Premier League Player of the Year award | photos

NEWCASTLE’S Madeleine Taylor admitted she was “a little surprised” when she was named NSW Premier League Player of the Year alongside Sutherland’s Madeline Hay.

The Central Coast Hearts goal-shooter has spent two years playing in the state league, and now being honoured as the competition stand-out has capped off her “pretty fantastic year”.

“It was pretty unexpected, I was a little surprised,” Taylor said of her 2017 award win. “My team came fifth so we weren’t even in the finals, we missed out because of a few close games in the first round [of fixtures] and then had injury problems in the second round.”

“This year has been a great year … I’ve spent three years losing the grand final in the open championship (Newcastle’s top grade) so to break that with a grand final win and then get an award that I didn’t even expect to be in the running for means it’s been a pretty fantastic year.”

Although Taylor put up average conversion percentages of 94% (148 goals from 157 attempts) in Central Coast’s final three games – a record she’d kept for much of the season – she admitted that she wasn’t naturally an attacking player.

The 21-year-old made the change when she joined the premier league side, proving through trials that she could play the position full-time.

“I was shooter last year, in the first season, but this is the first time in my career that I’ve really been trained as a shooter,” Taylor said. “I used to be a defender until I got into the [Central Coast] Hearts team as a goal-shooter. I’m still settling into the role.”

“I’ve never been a really confident player, so with learning to be a shooter and settling into the league, I have to put the award win down to my team helping me get there.

“I’m lucky enough to have the opportunity to play with a lot of amazing players in my team, and my coaches Amber Cross and Megan Sharpe are also very experienced and they gave me that base to build on.”

Taylor now awaits news of her position in the Central Coast squad for next season, with team news confirmed from early December this year, but the defender-turned-shooter still has one eye on the next level.

“I’m not 100% sure what is happening with the Central Coast squad for next season, but I also went to trials with the NSW Waratahs, the Australian Netball League team,” Taylor said. “I mainly go to trials to do my best, but not expecting to get in.”

“Going to these high level trials are good practice, regardless of if the Waratahs role doesn’t eventuate. I’ll know a lot more in December, but whatever happens it’ll be good.”

Taylor is also a Charlestown representative player, and was an key member of the Wests Leagues Balance team that emphatically defeated South Lions 55-32 in the Newcastle Open Championship grand final in 2017.