She’s a netball prodigy from south of the boarder with a famous sporting brother back home — here’s how Queensland managed to snap her up.
She’s a netball prodigy from south of the boarder with a famous sporting brother back home — here’s how Queensland managed to snap her up.

Meet the towering gem taking Queensland netball by storm

Rising Sapphire Series netball star Maddi Ridley had her eye on a different sport growing up.

"Originally I was more of a basketball player," the towering Bond Bull Sharks goal defence said.

And there was one good reason why.

"Because that's what my big brother played, and I wanted to be like him."

But the basketball avenue wouldn't last too long, with both siblings pursuing elite careers elsewhere - Maddi signing with the Bull Sharks on scholarship this year and Jordan making his name with Melbourne AFL powerhouse Essendon.

"I'm so glad to have Jordan as a role model... he was the person I always wanted to be like.

"We're really good mates and I that's the foundation of our relationship... I can pretty much go to him with anything.

"I don't think he knows it but he is pretty wise."

 

Maddi Ridley with her parents and brother, Essendon player Jordan Ridley.
Maddi Ridley with her parents and brother, Essendon player Jordan Ridley.

 

Maddi said it was her strong family support that helped elevate the pair to the hights of Aussie sport.

"I'm definitely lucky to have such an incredibly supportive family around me," she said.

Maddi, 19, was lured away from the familiar grounds of Melbourne to pursue netball and study on the Gold Coast when - after multiple interviews and a detailed application process - she secured the prestigious ADCO scholarship to study a Bachelor of Exercise and Sport Science.

She said she only considered the sport when she was about 10-years-old and keen to be social.

"I signed up to hang out with my friends," she said.

Two years later she had made Victoria's U12 state team and progressed up the ladder, being snapped up for spots in the school girls U16 and U17 teams before being identified for the Aussie U21 squad.

She is now also a member of Queensland's U19 squad and has already spent time training with the Firebirds.

Netball star Maddi Ridley is rapidly making an impression in the Bond Bull Sharks lineup in the Netball Queensland Sapphire Series. Picture: Cavan Flynn
Netball star Maddi Ridley is rapidly making an impression in the Bond Bull Sharks lineup in the Netball Queensland Sapphire Series. Picture: Cavan Flynn

She is also quickly making a name for herself for the Bull Sharks, mere months after graduating Year 12 at Caufield Grammar School.

"For me, just coming out of school, I see this as the beginning of the careers I hope to achieve.

"I gave mum a bit of a fright when I said I wanted to apply for scholarships on the Gold Coast.

"When I finally got the call (to confirm her acceptance) I just cried, I was so excited,

then I told mum and mum cried too."

She said the move to the Sunshine State had been a good one despite leaving her tight-knit family behind.

 

Maddi Ridley (left) on court for Bond University. Picture: Supplied
Maddi Ridley (left) on court for Bond University. Picture: Supplied

 

"With the wonders of technology I've been able to call and face-time mum and dad every day and Jordy.

"I'm guess I'm lucky coming up and having a sports team to make friends with straight away," she said, citing Shenae Grant as a key mentor.

"She's a great leader and has been a great sounding board for any problems I have whether it be tactical on the court or even little things about moving out of home.

"The Sapphire Series is a phenomenal league.

"Netball Queensland has such a great job setting up such a professional league... you always know you're in for a tough game.

"It's such a great training ground for aspiring athletes.

"There's such incredible talent up here in Queensland, it's been awesome to test myself... it's the highlight of my week."

The Courier-Mail live streams a Sapphire Series game of the round every week. SEE THE FULL LIVE STREAM SCHEDULE HERE

 

Originally published as Meet the towering Melbourne gem taking Queensland netball by storm



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