Part of Jaime Chapman would dearly love to defend the Harvey Norman Women’s Under 19s Origin Shield the NSW team so clinically claimed last June.
Chapman was fullback and captain of the side that handed Queensland a 16-12 defeat at Sunshine Coast Stadium, jumping out to a 10-0 lead after 25 minutes.
But Chapman, who turns 20 in March, is no longer eligible and now has her sights on a spot in the Harvey Norman Sky Blues Origin side if she can impress coach Kylie Hilder and fellow selectors.
She has already given herself a strong chance of making it after a starring role for the Indigenous All Stars in their 18-8 win, which included two tries and the Trish Hina Medal.
“I’m looking forward to moving on, but I will miss playing with those girls and definitely will miss not having the chance to win back-to-back games with the Under 19s,” she said.
Chapman took her first step to being included in Hilder’s extended Sky Blues squad after taking part in a training camp for both the Sky Blues and Under 19s Women’s Origin team at the NSWRL Centre of Excellence at Sydney Olympic Park in December last year.
“I get to step up to the next level now, moving up with the women,” she said.
“I need to be stronger, fitter, a deeper understanding of the game – pretty much everything if I want to make a mark there.
“I think hanging around the senior girls will make it easier for me to gain that knowledge and that level of fitness. There are standards to live up to.”
She has tough competition for the No.1 spot currently occupied by Jillaroos and Maori All-Stars fullback, Botille Vette-Welsh.
“Bo is one of my inspirations and motivations,” Chapman said.
“She has been very generous in having good chats with me when we’re training and stuff. She’s easy to learn from.”
Chapman hopes to show her wares with her NRLW side, the St George Illawarra Dragons, under new coach Jamie Soward.
She won’t be playing in the NSWRL’s Harvey Norman NSW Women’s Premiership as she plays for the Tweed Seagulls in the QRL’s BHP Premiership.
“It’s a busy year for all of us,” Chapman said.
“But you’ve got to look at the bright side in that women’s footy will be foremost at every club with two NRLW seasons, our state club comps and Origin.
“That’s obviously a good thing although it will be a strain on our bodies. We need to prepare ourselves for it and that all starts with a good pre-season.”
Chapman has also taken part in a skills sessions with True Blue and Brydens Lawyers NSW Blues assistant coach Paul McGregor, when the women came into a one-day Origin camp.
“He had some inspiring words and was very easy to understand in what coaches want to see from players,” Chapman said.
“They push us to be our best so it was only a positive experience to be around Paul and all the other men coaches like Boyd (Cordner), Andrew (Ryan) and Danny (Buderus).
“All the girls, like me, were very grateful to be around them and learn off them.”