Between you and me: Amy and Josie Lawton

Introducing ‘Between you and me’. A series featuring two people with a unique connection, each reflecting on their mutual journey and relationship with the other. These articles will drop monthly. First up are the renowned Lawton sisters. Women’s Hockey stars with the same end goal.

Amy Lawton (right/left), 22, and her sister, Josie, 19, recently represented Australia in hockey’s 2023 Junior World Cup, held in Chile.

Amy has also represented Australia at senior level, having made her Hockeyroos debut at 17, and is aiming to participate in her second Olympic Games, in Paris, later this year.

Their ambition is to play together for the Hockeyroos.


“It’s quite rare for siblings to play in the same team at state or national level. I suppose there is a temptation to bracket us together, as the Lawton sisters, for that reason. Being sisters, often the first comment about us is how we are similar or different to one another.

We don’t directly compete against each other. We are different players, physically and in terms of how and where we play. But there is competition in the sense we are both trying to achieve the same thing.

And that can be hard. In Chile, the Hockeyroos team was announced, and we were sitting in the same room at the time. My name was on the list and Jose’s wasn’t. I don’t think she was expecting to make the team but it is a goal of hers, to be a Hockeyroo.

I didn’t want to get too excited, out of respect for her disappointment, and she didn’t want her happiness for me to be eclipsed by her sadness. It was odd. Perhaps, it was a good thing that we were on tour and had to play the next day. Having to be aware of how the other might be feeling, especially about hockey, is important.

Jose is getting much better at talking about how she feels, having a discussion. Some of that is growing up, leaving school and maturing. I think we learn more from one another now, as sisters, than we did.

In the past, one sister to the other, was like getting unwanted advice from your parents. That has changed between us, especially with me living a lot of the year in Perth. (Amy moved to Perth and the Australian Hockey Centre of Excellence in 2020.)

I know that I am learning from her. When you miss someone, you listen to them more and hear them and consider their perspectives. There is a higher value on the relationship.

Jose is super energetic when she is comfortable. Talkative and bubbly. She is very good at saying it as it is, which I respect. Sometimes it can be hard to hear but I respect her honesty.

Being younger than me and going through things after me, I think Jose has at times compared herself to me or measured her journey against mine. We’ve all got our own paths but Jose hasn’t always understood that. I don’t think it does any more but the comparison used to weigh on her.

"On the pitch there is something between us. I know if something is frustrating her, for example. I know her instincts. Jose loves to attack and create an overload and as soon as I see that possibility for her I let her know to go for it."

Structurally, it may not be what the coaches want from her but I will encourage her to attack and I will drop back and cover. It’s not something that we have to ask of each other or signal. We know.

I’ve run on to a lot of passes from her, put out in front with an educated touch that comes from knowing my capabilities.

She is very good at letting me know about something she doesn’t appreciate. She is matter-of-fact.

We can be quite blunt with each other on the pitch, when there isn’t the time to have a discussion. It can probably seem heated but we both know that we’re trying to help the other. In training, I might chip Jose and she will turn around and say, ‘You wouldn’t say that to the other girls’ and she’s right. I wouldn’t. It’s a sister thing. I can be a little harsh, in a way I wouldn’t be with other team-mates, because we’re sisters and because I have high hopes for her.

On the other hand, Jose has a habit of tackling me in training. One of my strengths is supposed to be elimination skills but she reads me too well and gets me over and over.

I don’t know if me doing it (hockey) changed anything for her. She was into athletics and individual events, and it was being able to train and play with other people and share experiences that won her over to hockey.

Now, her motivation is to be the best hockey player she can and play for the Hockeyroos, with me if possible. We’d both love that.”


“Hockey was something we did together. We had other sporting interests - I was involved with athletics and Amy was into soccer - but hockey was where we came together.

Hockey was a family affair. Every Saturday we’d go out to hockey together whereas athletics was me and Mum – she was my coach for most of my athletics career – and soccer was Amy and Dad.

"The choice to pursue hockey over everything else was easy for Amy. She was exceptional. The sport chose her, to an extent."

For me, the attraction was a team environment. I loved competing in athletics but it could be lonely. I am a team person.

We were always close. I always wanted to be doing something with Amy. If she was in the backyard kicking a ball, I wanted to be in the backyard kicking a ball. But with that need to be close came a competitive quality to our relationship. We don’t fight but even our play fights had to be a contest – who could pin the other to the bed first.

Competition has always been there.

Being younger, Amy was obviously going to be successful before me. I had a standard – her standard – to match. It wasn’t that we competed directly with each other but, for example, she made her first state team at nine, so I needed to make my first state team at nine. She debuted (for the Hockeyroos) at 17 and at 16 I was like, ‘My God, I have a year to get there’.

Only recently have I started to let that go. Everyone has their own path and trajectory and I look back and know that I wasn’t ready, in any way, for what she did. Getting over that has been a challenge. I had to understand that I can achieve what she has but at my own pace.

I don’t think it has ever hindered our relationship, but I’ve spoken about it with my parents a lot, who have had to reassure me that not everything has to happen right away.

When you watch people at the Olympics on tv, you can be inspired or admire them but you don’t really know what it has taken for them to get there. Having a sister who has done it makes it real, a possibility that makes you think ‘If I’m good enough, that could be me’.

I remember when Amy was selected for the Tokyo Olympic team. I was at school, in an English class. We knew the timing of the announcement, so Mum and Dad drove to school and I popped out of the class and joined them in the car. The Facetime call came and Amy said nothing, she was just smiling, and I screamed ‘She’s In. She’s In’. She’s going to Tokyo’. She didn’t say a word and we all started crying.

We shared a bedroom until we were 12. We did everything together up until that point. We slept in the same bed until the age of four. Through the teen years, with different friendship groups and the changing of schools at different times, our relationship changed.

When she first shifted to Perth, I didn’t miss her at all. I enjoyed being an only child. It was heaven. But when she came back, and when she comes back now, I’m reminded of how much I miss her.

Amy is outgoing. She establishes relationships with people easily, I think because she is interested in who you are, not what you do or what you have done. I think she would describe me as more reserved. I need to be a little more comfortable and familiar with the people around me.

If Amy makes the team for Paris, I will be there. We couldn’t go to Tokyo and then, when the Commonwealth Games were on, I was in Year 12. We chose not to go to the World Cup, so we haven’t been to any of the majors yet. We need to go to Paris.”

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