With the remaining three NPLW Queensland finals places hinging on the results of this round’s games, it’s not just team against team, but twin against twin—potentially two weeks in a row.
31-year-old footballers Georgia and Amy Chapman will turn out for second-placed Lions FC and fourth-placed Souths United, respectively, in the NPLW’s final round this weekend on Friday night at Lions Stadium.
The pair, who have at times featured in Adelaide United, Canberra United, and Brisbane Roar’s Westfield W-League squads, started their football careers together in Under 7s in their hometown of Albury, New South Wales.
While Amy, who might be slightly better known to local fans courtesy of her long stint with the Roar, it was actually twin Georgia who was initially most interested in playing football.
But their mother would only let Georgia play if Amy went along too.
It’s something Amy, who went on to play for the Matildas, admitted, laughing: “I was her little shadow.”
Regardless of how they started out, the Chapmans have always been a force to be reckoned with.
Georgia, who now works as a PE teacher, has always been a midfielder.
Amy, who works full time as a medical rep, has always played up front.
Early on, Georgia perfected putting balls through to Amy and Amy perfected using her speed to chase the balls down and score.
“We link up really well when we do play together,” Georgia said.
The roles will be reversed this Friday, though, with the two needing to leverage their insight into each others’ games to help their teams.
When the teams met in Round 13, Souths United won 3–1.
Amy scored in that match.
“I suppose there’s a bit more on the line now,” Amy said.
“Both of us need the points leading into the finals determining who we will play. Georgia will, I’m sure, tell players how to manage me,” Amy said.
“And I will probably do the same for her.”
The two credit having had each other to practise with, and benchmark against, as having influenced their games.
“Definitely, because we were so competitive with each other, we were constantly trying to outdo each other,” Amy said.
But while there’s rivalry, there’s also well wishes.
“[Getting older] you start being less competitive and start wanting success more for her than yourself. I would prefer to be on the same team. I think it’s almost a conflict,” Amy said, laughing.
“But as long as we’re enjoying our football, that’s the most important thing.”
Georgia agreed: “There’s rivalry, but also that hope that the other person does well.”
Given they live together in one of the properties they co-own and co-renovated, does that make the lead-up to the game awkward?
“To be honest, we haven’t really come up against each other very many times,” Amy said.
That’s through a combination of work commitments that have taken Georgia away from the game and from the two at various times suffering the dreaded knee injuries that tend to plague female footballers—Amy has had three knee reconstructions, while Georgia has had one, but three knee surgeries in total.
“This is probably the first time other than Adelaide we’ve played in different teams. Amy has never played in NPLW before. It’s good to play with each other, but it’s also been a fun challenge to play against each other,” Georgia said.
“I think talking about the game is a little bit off limits,” Amy said.
“Probably not as much as people think. I think we talk about our own individual performances. I think we just help each other.”
So teamwork is no issue?
“Some of the girls we play with would probably say differently. We’re pretty quick to give feedback to each other if we’re unhappy with the pass,” Georgia said.
“We’re both extremely competitive. We’re probably the two loudest people you’ll find on either team. It’s just that rivalry. Both of us just want to win.”
“The renovating probably causes the most arguments than anything,” Amy said of the two houses the pair has renovated.
“Building IKEA furniture: Step one of painful.”
So what can we expect of this Friday’s game?
“My job as defensive midfielder is to stop the access to Amy. So I’ll be screening the through ball to her and their pacey front line. As a team, we will need to work on shutting down their lightning-quick front line.”
And while Amy concedes that Souths has a speedy attack, her focus is on the team delivering a solid performance.
“We do have a pretty quick front three,” she said.
“But we’ve been pretty inconsistent these past three games. We’ll be aiming for consistency. Also, Lions have been a really strong team all season. They’re the ones to beat. We just want to show the competition that we’re real competitors.”
Depending on how both their and other matches turn out, with the first-placed team hosting the fourth, and the second-placed team hosting the third in the NPLW Finals Series, the Chapmans could play each other two weeks in a row.
“This game is quite crucial for where we will finish on the ladder,” Georgia said.
“We could end up fourth and have to play the Gap. No one wants that,” she said, of the newly-crowned NPLW premiers who recently defeated Lions FC 8–0.
Which means friendly sisterly rivalry or otherwise, and shared game day coffee traditions aside, the stakes are even higher for this Friday’s match.
Lions FC (second) play Souths United (fourth) at Lions Stadium at 7:30pm on Friday, 24 August. The match will be livestreamed on FQ Facebook and YouTube.
Words: Fiona Crawford