16,000 reasons flying winger can take off in Origin II

Jasper Bruce |

Flight risk: jet-heeled Jaime Chapman was a star turn for NSW in State of Origin game one.
Flight risk: jet-heeled Jaime Chapman was a star turn for NSW in State of Origin game one.

She was NSW’s star player in the State of Origin series opener but there are more than 16,000 reasons why Jaime Chapman’s performance will be even better in game two.

Living on the Gold Coast as a member of the Titans’ NRLW team, the electric winger flew in and out of Sydney to participate in NSW’s seven-week training camp ahead of the Blues’ Origin I victory on May 16.

Chapman would travel down and back on Tuesdays and Saturdays and often finish her week by turning out for Tweed Heads in the BMD Premiership – the NRLW’s equivalent of the Queensland Cup – on Sundays.

After the NSWRL shifted their second-tier competition to run in line with the NRLW season, Chapman’s Sky Blues teammates Kezie Apps, Keeley Davis and Olivia Kernick also began taking flights to earn valuable game time in the BMD Premiership.

Chapman’s attendance record at Origin camp was near perfect; she missed only one session in seven weeks and that was due to a flight cancellation.

The 22-year-old would have to leave Sky Blues training half-an-hour early and rush to Sydney airport in a cab, meal voucher and overnight bag in hand.

She completed the trip around a dozen times in seven weeks, covering more than 16,000km – greater than the distance from Sydney to the North Pole.

Chapman rated her fly-in-fly-out schedule as the hardest part of the gruelling Origin camp.

“I was coming down to the better state, it’s quite nice to fly into Sydney,” she told AAP.

“But getting on all those flights, it takes a toll on your body. I’d have to say all the flights (was the hardest part).”

But all those hours in the air and on the training paddock ended up being worth it.

Chapman was a menace down the right edge at Suncorp Stadium as the Sky Blues staged a 22-12 upset victory in the first game of the three-match series.

“That seven-week pre-season camp was probably the best thing we’ve ever done,” Chapman said.

“We were very well prepared.”

Chapman is back with the squad ahead of next Thursday’s potentially decisive second game of the series, to be played in Newcastle.

As enviable as her frequent-flyer points are becoming, the winger said it was a big boost spending several days with her teammates in the build-up to game two.

“Now that I’m coming into camp, I can just focus on myself – not have to worry about travel,” she said.

“We’ve got seven days now and we can just prepare.”

Queensland have stuck with largely the same 17 that lost game two, but have reconfigured their left edge after Chapman and Jess Sergis formed a lethal combination in game one.

The injured Emily Bass comes off the left wing, forcing Evania Pelite to shift from the centres and Lauren Brown on from the bench.

“We’ve just got to be prepared, me and Jess, and stay connected,” Chapman said.

“Game one we performed so well but I don’t think we’ve even scratched the surface of how good we can go.”