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AFLW: Fowler flying high

Erica Fowler competes in the ruck against Geelong in round one of the 2019 AFLW season - AFLW,Collingwood Magpies
Erica Fowler competes in the ruck against Geelong in round one of the 2019 AFLW season
I hope that the majority of my skills from rugby sevens will transfer over and that I’ll bring a different physicality and athleticism to the game.
Collingwood AFLW recruit Erica Fowler

Determination is the key ingredient for success both on and off the field for Collingwood AFLW player Erica Fowler.

The Queenslander has had quite the rugby sevens career, having represented University of Queensland in the sport at a national level.

But after being ruled out of the Australian University Games in 2016 with injury, Fowler admitted she began to lose her passion for the game.

“I was told I’d played my best year of rugby, but to me it was my worst having been riddled by injury and sickness,” Fowler told collingwoodfc.com.au.

She was left questioning which path she’d take in life: whether she would try and improve her standing as an athlete or whether she would focus on her career as a paramedic.

The 26-year-old laughed as she admitted her interest in emergency services was sparked by watching daytime repeats of All Saints in Year 11.

Working as a paramedic has taught her a lot.

“It has been a massive eye-opener … learning about the community, having being exposed to many different conditions,” she said.

In 2018, when Fowler was offered an opportunity with Collingwood’s VFLW side, she knew it would be a big juggling act alongside her work commitments in Brisbane.

Still, she flew down to Melbourne every two to three weeks to line up with the Pies in what was an extraordinary show of commitment.

Fowler is still learning the game but wants to bring a different approach to AFL.

“I hope that the majority of my skills from rugby sevens will transfer over and that I’ll bring a different physicality and athleticism to the game,” she said.

After making her AFLW debut against Geelong in round one, Fowler noted she was both nervous and excited to take to the main stage for the very first time.

“I don’t think I’ve done so much shaking before in my life,” Fowler admitted.

“During our pre-game chat, I could see eyes on me and I knew my legs were just jiggling out of control.”

At 180cm tall, Fowler provides a great target in the forward line and as a ruck.

“I just kept telling myself, you’ve got the first tap, you start the game, so I was like, ‘You’ve got this.’”

As the rest of the season awaits, Fowler looks forward to this week’s historic match at Victoria Park where the Pies will take on Melbourne. 

“It was unfortunate that I missed the VFLW games there last year,” she said.

“But to be the first AFLW team to play at Vic Park, that’ll be huge, especially with the importance it holds within the club.

“Besides that, I’m most looking forward to playing the Brisbane Lions, of course.”