GIANTS and Bushies “best of both worlds” for Cicolini
LIVING in New South Wales over the past couple of years when you have a need to cross the Victorian border has had its challenges. But for the Finley-based Olivia Cicolini, she has made the most of it. Representing Murray Bushrangers in the NAB League Girls and as a member of the GWS GIANTS Academy, Cicolini described her experience training with both organisations as “the best of both worlds”.
“The GIANTS is really good,” Cicolini said. “It’s good to have a balance of both Bushies and GIANTS. “You get the best of both worlds where I live and I’m really grateful to play a bit of both.”
Cicolini’s journey to her top-age year about a decade ago when she first connected with the code through school.
“I started playing footy when I was about eight years-old,” Cicolini said. “I was actually at school and my primary school principal said “Hey Liv do you want to come have a kick with the boys?” and I thought ‘yeah why not?’ and ever since then I’ve just gone through primary school footy, All-school footy, then played Under 18s when I was 12 for Finley. “Then eventually in 2018 started with the Bushies and now I’m here.”
The Bushrangers forward has had double the challenges over the past 18 months, with border closures compounding on her regular travel routine.
“I’ve got my licence now so it’s a bit easier on my parents,” Cicolini said. “It’s an hour 45 one way to training twice a week so it’s taxing but it’s all worth it.
“It (border closure) was tough. “Fortunately I had a few mates that were in the Bushies program in Finley to have a kick with, but I just wanted to get around all my teammates so that was really hard.”
Kicking 10 goals in six games for the Bushrangers last year, the 171cm forward was known for her ability to get to the right spots close to goal, but she is eyeing off a slight role change in 2022.
“Last year I was more of a forward that sort of gets goals out the back but this year I’m hoping to be a forward that comes into the midfield on a rotation,” Cicolini said. “Just get around a bit more of the footy I guess.”
A natural footballer thanks to her longevity in the sport, the Bushrangers teenager said she was always looking to improve every aspect of her game. She is really looking to build her overall endurance and speed, as well as her strength to “burst out of contests”.
“I think my kicking is one of my biggest strengths,” Cicolini said. Since I’ve been playing for so long I’ve tried to master it as much as I can. “Then also the read of the play, I think I understand footy pretty well so that helps.”
As for her plan for 2022 and beyond, Cicolini is hoping to live out a childhood dream of playing at the elite level.
“The dream goal is to be drafted, I’ve wanted to be drafted since I was eight,” Cicolini said. “So that, but also just have a good year with the girls, and also outside of footy get to uni. “I’m doing Year 12 so hopefully that all goes well.”