Steven MacDonald (number 12) at the net for his club Orion.
Steven MacDonald (number 12) at the net for his club Orion. Contributed GLA150519MAC

WATCH: Boyne's Big Mac makes his presence felt in Holland

VOLLEYBALL: The athlete factory that is the Gladstone Region has produced yet another gem.

This time, it's in the form of former Boyne Island resident Steven MacDonald, 21, who has made the grade and some in professional ranks overseas.

The 208cm giant played a key role in the Achterhoek Orion Volleybal team which took out the national championships division one in Holland.

"The experience was incredible. To uproot my life and live in a different country, it's an experience not many people get at my age," MacDonald said.

"To do it playing volleyball was even better.

TALL TIMBER: Steven MacDonald played in the victorious Gladstone Thunder Volleyball team.
TALL TIMBER: Steven MacDonald played in the victorious Gladstone Thunder Volleyball team. Nick Kossatch GLA309816STEVENMAC

"We had a fairytale run through the finals, and to win the championship as underdogs was an incredible feeling.

"We beat Abiant Lycurgus from Groningen. It was a best of 5 game series and we won the 5th game at their home 3-2."
MacDonald said he was happy how he played during his time with Orion.

"I have been training every day and having regular games really helped me improve and gain more experience," he said.

MacDonald was the middle blocker for his team and started on the bench.

"There were a few patches when I was starting and I would also come off the bench to help," he said.

So how did MacDonald's volleyball adventure overseas start?

"Klaas Banga was our family physio at Boyne and also worked as the Dutch national team physiotherapist," he said.

"Through him, I talked to then national coach Gido Vermeulen and he put my name out.

"From there, Orion got in contact and thankfully I got signed."

MacDonald really committed to the sport in early 2016 and represented the Australian under-23 team in the Asian Volleyball Championships in May 2017.

He is now with the Aussie open team in Poland as the team prepares for the Volleyball Nations League.

"I arrived on Monday and I'm fighting to earn a spot on the travelling team," MacDonald said.

"It's amazing to be around the players that I've looked up to the past few years and to learn and play with them though."

MacDonald said volleyball was Holland's second-biggest sport behind soccer.

"There isn't as much money in it as say Italy, Poland or Russia and there are kids playing before they are 10 years old," he said.

MacDonald was offered a scholarship in basketball at Brisbane Grammar when he was 16 and he was required to choose another sport.

That's when volleyball became as his No. 1 passion.



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