Stephanie and Lucy Wales have always done everything together.
They grew up as a competitive unit in a sporting household, choosing to team up against their older brothers rather than against each other, and were on the same teams (football and basketball) from childhood all the way through to playing VFLW for Casey.
But then everything changed earlier this year when they were drafted to famous rivals: Stephanie, or “Killer”, to Essendon and Lucy, otherwise known as “Pendles”, to Hawthorn.
The Wales twins: Lucy (left) and Stephanie (right).Credit:Paul Jeffers
“My identity my whole life has been like ‘Oh, I’m a twin’ and I do everything with Steph, and to now do things on my own, it’s kind of funny,” Lucy told The Age.
“It’s weird that I had to tell people I was a twin – like people just didn’t know [at the club],” Lucy laughed, adding that she doesn’t mind her new independence.
The two young rucks, 19, still live together, work together and spend most of their days off together, but they say being at different clubs give them a chance to stand on their own.
Stephanie said being twins made a lot of things in life easier, including going into any new situation side-by-side. But walking into separate football clubs was a different experience, and one they’ve enjoyed.
“It was actually really good to be able to do this by ourselves,” said Stephanie, with Lucy adding it allowed them to make their “own friendships and connect with different people.”
Although many have asked the pair if their circumstances have ignited a new rivalry between them – playing on either side of the Essendon v Hawthorn divide – they say it’s just made them closer.
“I think like the fact that we’re going through our own experiences at different clubs, but then being able to relate has probably made us a bit closer [and] just being able to talk about things that we’re experiencing, knowing that the other one has similar experiences,” said Stephanie.
Lucy added that, as they both play for expansion teams, they are in “very similar environments”, which is something they share together: “We’re doing the same thing, so we can relate”.
It’s helped their footy, too, as the duo watch and study each other’s games to see how’d they go against the same opponents.
“Let’s say Lucy’s already versed Melbourne, I’d look at the game against Melbourne because I know I’m similar to her,” said Stephanie.
AFLW twins, Stephanie and Lucy Wales.Credit:Paul Jeffers
Lucy agreed, saying: “Because your role is obviously different to everyone else in the team, it’s hard to judge where you fit in … we compare ourselves to each other because we’re the same age, same position.”
For example, Lucy said before she played against the Brisbane Lions, she researched how Stephanie fared against Lions’ ruck Tahlia Hickie because they have identical builds and play alike. Although, Stephanie is four centimetres taller.
Despite how handy this is to learn from, Stephanie quipped, “When I watch [Lucy], I’m like ‘please don’t tell me I run like that’,” she laughed.
Fittingly, they began their AFLW careers playing against each other in the clash of expansion teams and arch rivals at Marvel Stadium in front of more than 12,000 fans.
Stephanie finished the night victorious, as the Bombers claimed a 26-point win over the Hawks – with the pair each registering 12 hitouts – but says she didn’t hold it over her sister.
“She already knows she lost, I don’t need to tell her,” Stephanie mused, while Lucy said it was just “really exciting just to be able to play against each other and be in the same competition”.
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