The Brisbane Lions are in mourning after the death of much-loved club staff member, Nicole Duncan, who passed away following a short battle with leukemia.
A club stalwart, Duncan was the Lions’ football administration manager for 31 years.
She had been there from before the club’s inception when Fitzroy and Brisbane merged in 1996, oversaw the triple-premiership era between 2001-03, was there through the bad times of the late 2000s and early 2010s, and all the way until the successes of recent years.
Analysis, local footy and the biggest moments, Seven and 7plus are the home of footy shows for every fan. Stream them all for free on 7plus >>
Brisbane CEO Greg Swann said her loss will be felt heavily at the club.
“She was a true Lions legend even though she never played,” he told the club’s website.
“She ran everything in the football department with a minimum of fuss and was never fazed by anything.
“Football clubs at every level are made up of the people involved and I would say that no-one in the history of the Lions had a bigger influence on the players, coaches and the workings of the club.”
Senior coach Chris Fagan said Duncan was the most competent and dilligent colleague he had ever worked with in the industry.
Baby joy coming ‘any minute’ for Collingwood premiership hero
Collingwood premiership architect caught out spying on rival club
Chris Fagan and Greg Swann with Nicole Duncan. Credit: Brisbane Lions
“Her work was her passion and she was an expert at her role,” Fagan said.
“She wanted nothing but the best for our club and her daily aim was to serve the Lions with purpose and efficiency. Without doubt she achieved her goal consistently over a 30-year career.
“My wife Ursula, daughters Jessica and Ellen, and I, loved her dearly. She made us all feel so welcome at the club and part of the family.
“To me she is a hero because every day she let her work and actions do the talking. She never complained and took so much pride in everything she did.
“People like her are the heart and soul of a football club. There is no doubt she has left an enduring legacy for all of us to follow.”
Three-time premiership captain and former Lions coach, Michael Voss, said her footprint at the club is legendary.
“The stories she could tell — Not many got past her and not many knew as much as her,” Voss said.
“No task was too big or too small and she would do everything with the same ruthless efficiency.
“She never wasted a word but you always knew she cared. Every detail was mastered and there are many who are grateful to her for doing so much for them.
“Her impact on so many is undeniable.”
Nicole Duncan with her loved ones. Credit: Brisbane Lions
Duncan’s family confirmed the news on Facebook earlier on Sunday.
“It is with a heavy heart we write this. Nicole sadly passed away yesterday afternoon surrounded by loved ones. She fought so hard and until the very end,” the family wrote.
“Words can’t describe how much we’ll miss her. She lit up every room with her sunny smile and always knew how to make people laugh. She lived an extraordinary life filled with adventure, laughter and love.
“We know Nicole touched many lives, and we’re devastated to have her leave this earth so soon, but she is at peace now. We know she was well loved and will be missed by so many.
“Thank you to everyone who was a good friend to Nicole. We are forever grateful for the impact you made on her life.”
Duncan was comfortably the Lions’ longest-serving employee.
Current AFL skipper Harris Andrews posted a tribute to Duncan on social media.
“A true legend of our footy club gone too soon,” he wrote.
“’Duncs’ gave her all to make our jobs as players easier, and helped the transition of so many young men coming up to Brisbane.
“She was hard-working, caring, resilient and incredibly dedicated. Rest in peace Duncs.”
AFLW coach Craig Starcevich added his voice to the chorus of condolences.
“A constant source of strength and support for everyone at our club. We’ll miss you dearly Nicole,” he wrote.
Club chair Andrew Wellington said: “Truly a heart of the Lions, taken way too soon. RIP.”