CAMPERDOWN footballer Sam Chapman is putting premiership success ahead of a pre-season cup competition.
The Maskell Medal winner will play for St Marys in the Northern Territory Football League grand final on Saturday night, forcing him to miss the Hampden league pre-season competition at Port Fairy.
“I miss out but it’s part of the commitment I made throughout the off-season,” Chapman said.
“You have to commit to finals and Bernard (Moloney) was fine with that.”
Chapman, 30, has played seven matches for St Marys this season and been named in its best four times.
“I have wanted to do it for a while but I was injured or travelled instead,” he said.
St Marys crushed Tiwi Bombers by 51 points in their semi-final two weeks ago.
Chapman is expecting a fierce contest in the grand final.
“Hopefully it’s the same result but I think it might be closer this time,” Chapman said.
“We have beaten them three times throughout the year but I think they will be stronger in the grand final.”
Tiwi Bombers, which have former Melbourne forward Austin Wonaemirri among their ranks, belted Wanderers in the preliminary final.
Chapman, a Deakin University teaching student, spent six weeks in Darwin over summer.
He missed St Marys’ final home-and-away game with study commitments but was invited back for their finals campaign.
“I have played on a wing or as an onballer but I have been going back at stages,” he said.
“I have been playing a utility role which has held me in the team.
“Initially the conditions were quite trying, more the humidity than the heat.
“There is no breeze.
“I did, to be honest, battle in my first game.
“You get used to it.
“I worked in it three days a week as a gardener (while I was there).”
Chapman said the NTFL was a different way to approach Hampden league pre-season.
“It’s been good for fitness,” he said.
“I lost a little bit of weight.
“I’d hate to breakdown now but at this stage it’s been ideal.
“It’s a different type of footy — it’s not as physical.
“It suits my body frame.
“I’m not the biggest bloke going around.”