The amazing elevation of Bond University Rugby 7s sensation Maddison Levi to the Australian Olympic team is a massive endorsement of the local representative pathway, according to Setu Naseri who heads the Bull Sharks women’s rugby program.
Levi, 19, a multi-sport phenomenon, on Friday was named as part of the Australian Women’s 7s team, who will defend the gold medal won in 2016 in Rio.
“First of all we are all so rapt for Maddi,” said Naseri. “But also, it is kudos to the local Gold Coast rugby community, the Bond university rugby program and the regional representative pathway.
“It is a win, win, win situation.
“Maddi first came onto our radar as part of the Coomera Crushers rugby club’s Under 17 7s team. A large contingent of that club made up the Gold Coast Cyclones Under 17 squad that won the State 7s three years in a row.
“Bond’s current women’s 15s head coach Lawrence Faifua was heavily involved with the Crushers.
“Although she was then very young, we invited Maddi into the Bond program back in 2019. She is an incredible player and I would say it got to the stage where the national selectors just couldn’t leave her out.”
There are so many riveting back-stories to the current ‘Levi to Tokyo’ headline.
Her sister Teagan, 17, is also part of Bond rugby and is quickly following in her sister’s dazzling footsteps.
Maddison also plays for the Gold Coast Suns in the AFLW and has so far been able to tread a successful tightrope walk between the two codes.
And her 2021 highlight reel is already packed.
A standout was her performance for Bond in the Aon Women’s Uni 7s Series. The Bull Sharks were crowned series champions, the first time Bond had achieved that honour.
The Levi sisters were named in the Aon Uni Sevens Dream team.
Maddison Levi continued to press her claims for national selection with the clincher coming at the Pacific Aus Sports Oceania Sevens held in Townsville last weekend.
She was part of the Oceania Barbarians team, with Australia, New Zealand and Fiji also fielding men’s and women’s teams.
“I was aware that Maddi was on the ‘long list’, then ‘short listed’, but then I think her performance in Townsville was so convincing. She was a real standout for Oceania,” said Naseri.
“Any thoughts that she may have lacked experience … she obviously convinced the selectors otherwise.”
Three other members of the Australian Olympic 7s team - Shannon Parry, Evania Pelite and Charlotte Caslick - have also played for Bond in recent seasons of the Aon Women’s Uni 7s Series. All three were part of an allocation system, where members of the national 7s squad were allotted to teams during the series.
The women’s rugby sevens will be held at the Tokyo Olympics from July 29-31, at Tokyo Stadium. The Australian women have been drawn against the United States, China and hosts Japan in their pool.
The Australian women’s squad is: Shannon Parry (co-captain), Sharni Williams (co-captain), Faith Nathan, Dominique Du Toit, Emma Tonegato, Evania Pelite, Charlotte Caslick, Madison Ashby, Tia Hinds, Sariah Paki, Demi Hayes, Maddison Levi.
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