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Why Levi sisters turned down ‘daily’ interest from rival codes

By Finn Morton
Teagan Levi (L) Australia coach Tim Walsh and Maddison Levi pose for a photo during a Rugby Australia media opportunity at Rugby Australia HQ on November 22, 2023 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Evans/Getty Images)

Just because something feels right doesn’t necessarily mean it’s easy. Maddison Levi shed tears for days after making the tough decision to leave AFLW for an opportunity in rugby sevens.

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But after pursuing the opportunity of a lifetime with the Aussie sevens side, try-scoring phenom Levi hasn’t looked back. Not one bit.

Levi, who was nominated for World Rugby’s Player of the Year and named in the series Dream Team, was nothing short of sensational during a breakout season on the World Series circuit in 2022/23.

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While the Black Ferns dominated the season, Levi emerged as a golden ray of promise for the Australians as the AFLW draftee crossed for a record 57 tries.

Unsurprisingly, the sporting world took notice. Sevens coach Tim Walsh revealed that both Maddison and Teagan Levi were “getting daily and weekly phone calls from other sports.”

But the superstar sisters have found a home in sevens. With the new-look SVNS series just weeks away and the Olympics not too far behind, the Levi’s wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.

“Obviously NRL was definitely a drawcard and AFL, having played a season and Teags being drafted and not being able to actually debut, I guess they play on your mind,” Maddison told Wide World of Sports.

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“But then once we made the transition to sevens, I guess you can’t put a price on travel. We’re so young, we get to compete at the highest level for our country.

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“I think nothing in the female sports that we were looking at compares with that level and just being able to train as an elite athlete day in, day out. Not having to have that second job… and to be able to compete against countries like New Zealand and France and just compete at that high level constantly. Nothing really was on par with that.”

Younger sister Teagan finished last season as one of the brightest rising stars in the rugby sevens world.

Playing alongside the likes of Charlotte Caslick and Madison Ashby, Teagan emerged as one of Australia’s best playmaking options. The youngster was even goal-kicking at the esteemed Hong Kong Sevens.

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Teagan, who was also drafted by the Gold Coast Suns, is set for a breakout year as one of 17 players in the Australia women’s squad for the upcoming SVNS season.

“This is a huge season for the Sevens program, obviously with an exciting new format for the HSBC SVNS and culminating with the Olympics in Paris, which is the absolute pinnacle for our program,” coach Tim Walsh said.
“Our squad still has a huge amount of talent from the dominant 2022 team, not to mention a couple of gold medallists in Charlotte and Sharni.“We have a number of players that can be considered among the best players in the Sevens world and we have added to that this year with some exciting stars of the future in Kaitlin, Sidney and Heidi.“Maddison and Teagan are genuine competitive culture drivers in our squad, which is quite remarkable when you consider how inexperienced they are.“They have quickly gone from rookies to elite players on the world circuit. Maddi has become one of the best players in the world and someone that all oppositions fear.“Teagan’s improvement over the last 12 months is a testament to her toughness, resilience, and desire to be better. We are thrilled to keep such outstanding players – and people – in the Rugby Sevens program.”

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