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Moreau chases dream in Melbourne
Half a world away from Québec, Valérie Moreau is chasing her dream in a sport most Canadians have never even heard of.
Three times a week on a suburban field in Melbourne, Australia, Moreau trains to hone her Australian Rules football skills.
Moreau hopes to become just the second Canadian to be drafted into the peak league for women in the sport – AFL Women’s – and says training in Australia is the best way to reach that goal.
“The level is definitely way higher here. The girls are skilled and they've been playing since they were little,” she said.
“Playing in Australia has definitely helped me to increase my skills and my vision of the game.
“Since I started playing here I've definitely improved my knowledge of the game and my skills.”
Despite having lived in Australia for a university exchange, Moreau did not actually discover the game until two months after she returned to Montréal.
“I was playing a b-ball game and the referee came up to me at the end of the game and told me I should try AFL,” Moreau said.
“I was surprised because I just got back from Australia but didn't know about the sport so I thought it was a really nice coincidence.
“About two months later I went to my first training with AFL Québec and never stopped.”
Since taking up the sport, Moreau has been a standout and gone on to represent Canada on the international stage with the Northern Lights – Canada’s national women’s side.
The Lights have taken her across North America and to Australia, where the team won the most recent edition of the International Cup.
The Northern Lights will join Moreau in Melbourne in August, where the team hopes to defend their title and become the first side to win consecutive International Cups.
“I think our chances of winning the International Cup are really high because we don't take anything for granted,” Moreau said.
“We are training hard to improve our fitness and skill levels because we know the opposition will be there to win, too.
“We will fight. And we will defend our title.”