It was to be a memorable debut for Kinawley’s Joanne Doonan as she helped her new side Carlton to a comprehensive 34 point victory in the league opener of the AFL Women’s 2020 season.

Having moved over to Melbourne at the end of last year, Doonan has settled in well to her new settings and it is clear she has made a strong impression and it was rewarded with her competitive debut in the first game of the season against Richmond.

Doonan admits she was shocked to be getting the chance so early in the season and this can be seen in the video released by Carlton showing the moment she was told about her involvement in the upcoming fixture.

“I was definitely shocked. I felt a bit lost after my first practice game. My second practice game was better but I still didn’t think I had done enough to make the 21, so I was pleasantly surprised when I got picked. It’s hard with nine girls getting cut for each round so it’s very competitive.

“I was more grateful as I know how hard it is to get but also to get that experience to run out in Round One to the big crowds. It was an amazing experience,” explained Doonan.

It was to be the best possible start for her as Carlton thrashed the newest team in the league 48-14 with Doonan scoring a behind (one point) and providing an assist for one of her team mates to take a mark and score a goal, which is worth six points.

There were no nerves for Doonan in the lead up to game she admits but she knows that there are aspects of her adopted sport that she has to work on.

“I was actually quite calm before the game. I was more just enjoying the experience of it all because I felt at that point I’d prepared as best as I could.

“I suppose it’s like any game during it, as soon as the ball’s thrown up you’re fine.

“It’s definitely different than home in that it would be quite rough off the ball as well as in the contest, but I don’t mind that side of it.

“I did a few good things, however, I’ve still a lot to learn so hopefully I’ve done enough to get my place for Round Two.”

Life in Melbourne has been good for Doonan so far and she praises the Carlton club which has done its best to make her feel at home.

They even organised for her brother Paul and his girlfriend Katie to fly from Sydney for her debut game.

“Carlton have been so welcoming and are a really good club to be a part of.

“From chatting a few girls from other clubs, we’ve a good set up here with the amount of resources like 40 plus staff between coaches, medical, etc so it’s brilliant to have that experience.

“There are similarities to home in that each club is very family orientated.They even allowed James (McMahon) to train with the VFL when he was here and then they made sure my brother, Paul, and his girlfriend Katie were down from Sydney to be there for my debut game.”

Next up for Doonan and Carlton is a game against Collingwood on Sunday, February 16 and the focus for the her is to make the panel again and keep on improving.