Meet the first identical twins to officiate at a national level in Australian football history

Dollita Okine April 25, 2024
The Townsville twins Page Malau-Aduli and Paula Malau-Aduli have written their names in record books. Photo Credit: Football Queensland

Townsville twins Page Malau-Aduli and Paula Malau-Aduli have written their names in record books as the first identical twins to officiate at a national level in Australian football history.

Their current career path, however, started as a means of proving their unbelieving brother wrong. They went on to exceed their wildest expectations as they became match officials chosen for the first intake of the Football Queensland (FQ) Referee Academy in 2020 and for the first Football Australia (FA) Referee Academy intake last year, which equipped the girls with the knowledge and opportunities necessary to become elite referees internationally.

Paula told Football Queensland, “Our brother would always tell us that we didn’t have the personality to do it, but we wanted to prove him wrong, so our dad signed us up when we were 14 and it’s been so good, I’m honestly glad that we started doing it and just sort of kept going with it.’

“Honestly, I didn’t think we’d be any good when we first started, and every time we get to go further, do different things, become better, it all feels kind of surreal; just the further we go, the more like, how amazing it is,” Page remarked. 

Paula and Page experienced a wide range of learning opportunities both in Townsville and throughout Brisbane while enrolled in the FQ Referee Academy. These experiences included attending Zoom sessions with highly skilled coaches, officiating at state tournaments, and working with FIFA referees during the CommBank Matildas’ match against the New Zealand Football Ferns in Townsville in 2022.

As part of the first class of the FA Referee Academy, Football Australia announced in June 2023 that the twins would be two of the twelve promising match officials selected from around the nation to advance to the next level of their referee careers.

Page and Paula worked with coaches, sports scientists, and sports psychologists at the FA Referee Academy to acquire the technical, physical, and social skills required for professional football.

As reported by A-Leagues earlier this month, Paula made her debut as an A-League referee, working as the assistant referee during a match between Brisbane Roar and Canberra United. Her sister, Page, also joined as the official E, signifying their joint entry into the national level of officiating.

When reflecting on their journey as referees recently, both girls extended immense gratitude to the Townsville senior referees and coaches who mentored them from the start and the community of match officials they met throughout the route to their success.

Page expressed, “Just being in Townsville growing up I’m grateful for those guys that kind of paved the path for us and took us along the way, they were so deliberate in building us up, building the next generation with what they could teach us and pass on. 

“Sometimes being in the regional areas you don’t get some of the same opportunities that the metro areas get but with this knowledge and depth of insight from people in the academy, bringing it back to Townsville is going to be really cool because the whole Townsville refereeing group gets some of that knowledge as well which I think is really exciting.” 

As for the younger generation of regional referees hoping to make it to the A-League, Page said, “I guess my advice is to not give up and keep going, there’s such a great community of referees so lean on one another, build each other up because this is something that when you get higher you take everyone with you. You’re in it together.”

Paula also advised, “Don’t be deterred, like we see people from different areas doing different things, I think it’s really cool that we can all start in different places but that doesn’t really exclude us from being able to make it; keep going as far as you can because it’s a really cool pathway to be on.” 

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: April 25, 2024


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