It will be abundantly clear where the supporters of the Levi sisters will be this weekend – 80 of them will be wearing T-shirts emblazoned with the images of Maddison and Teagan at Allianz Stadium.
The sibling stars of the Australian women’s sevens team are attracting a whole new group of fans to the sport since switching from the AFLW, where they were contracted to the Gold Coast Suns.
Maddison claimed the World Series rookie of the year award in her debut season last year, and is already the leading tryscorer in the 2022-23 series after three events.
Now, the sisters will finally get to play in front of a home audience at the Sydney Sevens, to be played from Friday to Sunday – with supporters coming from Melbourne, and a busload from their junior AFL club in Queensland.
“Mum bought 80 shirts with our faces on it. She had messages from everyone coming saying, ‘Can I get one?’” Maddison Levi said.
“She talks all the time about how we have family and friends who’ve never watched Rugby Sevens before, but because of that mutual connection with Teags and I in the team, they can’t get enough. They sit and watch it all the time.
“They’re so keen to see it, so to be able to have them come and watch it in real life, the home country and supporters, that’s how a lot of us players got influenced to play, watching rugby.
“To put on a show and do the same thing is pretty exciting.
“My friends and family have been with us through the highs and lows, watched us kick the footy around on the back of a swamp, not much going on. So for them to watch us at the Sydney Sevens is going to be really cool.”
Levi, 20, and 19-year-old Teagan grew up with a very different dream; to become world-famous dancers.
“I used to dance, so all my old dance friends are coming to watch,” she said.
“I did all styles, acro (a combination of classical dance and acrobatics), jazz, hip-hop. I originally dreamed of travelling the world dancing, now I’m travelling the world doing something completely different.
“If it wasn’t for me doing dancing, touch footy, as a kid – my mum and dad never forced us into anything – it’s paid off with the agility and being light on your feet, and the ball skills and aerial skills from AFL, I wouldn’t be the athlete I am if I didn’t have a dabble in all these sports.
“It’s probably the biggest piece of advice I can give to kids now, don’t put yourself in one sport and expect to excel. Play a bit of everything, and then you’ll fall in love with one sport.”
Levi played with the Suns in the 2021 AFLW season, while Teagan was their No.1 draft pick before both switched codes.
While Levi has left the door open on a return to Aussie rules, it won’t be before next year’s Olympic Games.
“It’s definitely still an option down the track, they’re probably my biggest supporters,” Levi said.
“They were the ones who definitely helped make this decision. Teags and I definitely sat down, days of crying and stressing, I don’t like to let people down.
“Now I look back at it, why was a crying? AFL is always an option on the cards.
“I’m grateful to have played that one season. But the opportunity to represent your country, travel the world with my best friends and my sister is pretty exciting.
“Everything happens for a reason, right now this is where I’m meant to be. And the 2024 Olympics on the cards is pretty exciting.
“Hopefully I’ll get to step on that flight to Paris with my sister, that will be an experience in itself.”
Originally published as Sydney Sevens 2023: Follow the latest news and results