Coline Duquet spearheads Crusaders’ charge

There will be many players with interesting backgrounds and honours to their name to watch at the AFL International Cup, which begins in a little under three weeks time.

One of them is Paris Cockerelles women’s footballer Coline Duquet, who will be wearing the blue and gold of the European Crusaders at IC17.

French ruck Coline Duquet will be a key part of the European Crusaders team competing in the International Cup team for the first time. Image: AFL Europe

Although currently back home in her native France, Duquet discovered our game when she was living in Australia, back in 2013.

“I studied in Sydney for a year, some years ago,” Duquet said.

“I wanted to do rugby at first, but couldn’t find a team, and I found a poster at University saying that the AFL [Australian football] women’s team was looking for players.

“I thought I should give it a go just have the sporting Australian experience, so I tried and I loved the sport.”

Duquet’s debut season in Australia was with the UTS Shamrocks, where she impressed enough to earn five votes in the club best and fairest.

Ironically, the award was taken out by Canadian Lara Hilmi, who’ll be one of her opponents in the International Cup next month.

At the Shamrocks, Duquet played the role of a leading forward, but in Europe, she not only found a place to play our game, but also a new role.

“When I came back to France I saw there was some women’s footy going on in Europe; I joined a team and here I am now four years later still playing.

“I now play ruck for the Paris Cockerelles and the French national team.”

The player nicknamed “Emu” by her then Shamrocks teammates has excelled playing in the engine room, earning representative honours with France at the nine-a-side Euro Cup, and last year with the European Crusaders when they debuted as a team at the AFL European Championships.

Further honours were placed upon Duquet this year, when she was awarded the women’s player of the tournament when playing with her Paris Cockerels at the AFL Europe Champions League in Amsterdam.

Now the Crusaders’ ruck is looking forward to her journey down under, representing her home continent with female footballers from a range of different countries.

“We have girls from the French team playing for the Crusaders; girls from Norway, Denmark, Croatia, Italy, [and] Germany,” Duquet said.

“It’s going to be a huge adventure, a new experience for us [with] the European Crusaders competing for the first time at the International Cup.

“Really looking forward to it.”