"What you put in, is what you get out."
It's the motto that Lou Byrne lives by.
As a child growing up in Tarrawingee, Byrne saw her parents devote countless hours to community sport, instilling in her a sense of service.
She gained maturity from a young age as she began her senior netball career at just nine-years-old in the Ovens and King League, going on to play over 500 A-grade games at her home club.
While the thought of a child playing senior netball seems unimaginable now, Byrne admits it was a different time.
"There were three girls in my year at primary school at that age and we were asked to come along to training at Tarrawingee, if we wanted to," Byrne said.
"So we did.
"It was only A and B grade back then and I had a quarter here and there.
"In my first year I think I got three runs.
"When I was 10 I got a few half games in B-grade, and by the time I was 12 I was playing full games.
"I ended up in A-grade when I was 14.
"Times have changed dramatically, but that was the way it was for me."
While her playing career was accelerated, so too was her introduction to coaching, with some guidance from an Ovens and Murray netball legend.
"My first coaching stint was with Toni Wilson," she said.
"I was about 17 and she was coaching, and she wanted me to assist to help me learn.
"Then the year after I coached the under-17 team on my own.
"Toni was one of the first mentors that got me into coaching and administration.
"Next thing I knew I was president of the netball club in my early 20s."
While Wilson went on to help establish netball in the Ovens and Murray League, it was a few years before Byrne would arrive.
She remained at the Bulldogs to see out the rest of her playing career, also taking on umpiring.
"I think the best netball I played was in my 30s," she said.
"I was more mature and a lot wiser as a defender."
Byrne continued playing into her early 40s, before a knee injury a few years prior ultimately saw her call time.
"I was in for a good season and I just landed wrong one night at training and overextended and tore my ACL," she said.
"They said I wasn't in the state where I needed to have a reco, but in hindsight, I think I should have.
"I was never the same again, and that's why I had to stop umpiring as well in the end."
She credits her husband Peter for his unwavering support.
"Two of them were born in April and I came back six weeks later and played," she said.
"He (Peter) looked after the children and was very heavily involved in the football club in Tarrawingee as well.
"He would do the gate, because it's right beside the netball court, and the children would play in the back of the station wagon.
"I've had a great supportive family over the years and they've all let me keep going."
In 2007 Byrne became the Magpie we know her as today, taking on the role as team manager after some persuasion from Claire Houben.
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In 2009 Wangaratta claimed their first C-grade premiership, with Byrne assisting the side.
It was just the start of things to come, with Byrne then taking the reins to see them do it again in 2012.
Changes were starting to be made, with Julie Hoornweg coming on board to assist the club's netballers.
By 2014, Byrne had been appointed A-grade coach.
"We made a lot of changes, and I think that helps with success," she said.
"If you don't fix things up first, you have no chance of winning."
The foundations were being set for the Magpies to see their hard work pay off, with current coach Kellie Keen arriving at the club shortly after.
The 2018 season is one Byrne will never forget, with the Magpies claiming A and B-grade flags for the first time.
"That was a really special year," Byrne said,
"I was really passionate about developing young players, and it's paid off in the end."
We now know them as the back-to-back reigning premiers of the Ovens and Murray netball competition.
While Byrne has been a mentor for many players on the court, she's also experienced the Magpies' success and heartbreaks as a mum to A-grade centre Issy.
"She would tell you I'm very hard on her, but only because I never wanted to be seen as favouring her, and I think that was the best thing for her to play her best," she said.
"I'm there now to help them and give advice, which I'm quite happy to do.
"I have a lot of respect for all of these young girls who have grown into adults now, and they respect me too."
She's embraced every opportunity that has come her way, including as an interleague coach.
Having now taken a step back from her previous roles, she's kept busy by the family's farm and her three grandchildren.
Sport is still a hot topic in the Byrne household, with her husband Peter also the chairman of the Ovens and King League.
"We have some very good conversations in our household and a lot of Zoom meetings," she said.
Looking back at a career that started early, Byrne has worn many hats in coaching and administration.
But she wouldn't have had it any other way.
"That's what my parents instilled in me, to be a giver and not a receiver," she said.
"I just lived and breathed netball, and I still do.
"I hope to always make something a bit better than what it was."
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