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Anatomy of a debut — Emerson Woods

After being drafted with pick 38 in the 2018 AFLW draft, Carlton’s Emerson Woods made her AFLW debut in Rpund 5. A lifelong Carlton fan, Woods took the opportunity to reflect on her debut game as the Blues overcame arch-rivals Collingwood by five points.

Daniel ‘Harf’ Harford called me into his office on Wednesday after training to let me know I’d be making my debut against Collingwood.

It was a bit of a shock to be honest!

I was speechless and wasn’t too sure what to say when Harf called me but it was all really exciting.

I’m a lifelong Carlton fan so it was a surreal moment to pull on the navy blue jumper.

When I was younger I never thought it would happen, let alone thinking I would be able to play football.

I couldn’t say it was a dream come true to be honest because when I was younger it wasn’t something that I could even dream about!

Leading into the game I was incredibly nervous.

I was really excited as well but I think the Carlton and Collingwood rivalry, the night game under lights and the big crowd all factored in to my nerves.

I had lots of family and friends there to support me which helped and made it all the more exciting.

Running through the banner was a ‘pinch-yourself’ moment — it was nerve-wracking!

The first time I got the ball I was thinking to myself, ‘Oh my god what do I do next,’ but then I was able to relax and get into it.

The enormity of my debut didn’t sink in properly until after the game when the emotions of everyone were on show.

Those moments after the game were really special.

Being in the middle of the Gatorade shower with fellow draftees Abbie McKay and Charlotte Wilson was really special.

The Gatorade got in my eyes though and I was pretty sore for a while after!

Seeing my family and friends who had been out in the crowd cheering me on was awesome.

It showed me how much they care about my footy journey and how it was as equally as important for them as it was for me.

Having them there made the night what it was.

Now that those first game nerves are out of the way I’m feeling good.

Hopefully I can step out on the park with the Blues again this season!