IT is not always about the goal, it is more about the journey and how much you have to work to get there – a mantra that Northern Territory’s Dominique Carbone subscribes to as she strives to make the most of her AFL Women’s career. The talented Under 18s player was co-captain of Northern Territory and a leader at Central Allies in the AFL Women’s Under-18 Championships, and it is easy to see why.
“My goal is to make the AFLW and it’s not always about the goal, it’s more about the journey and how much you have to work to get there and hopefully if I achieve that goal I can look back and see how much I enjoyed the journey to get to where I wanted to be,” Carbone said. For now, she is just enjoying the opportunity she has been given.
“I think the biggest thing with AFL and with women playing AFL I think it’s a really good opportunity for empowerment in youth girls,” she said, “I fell in love with the amazing team environment there is. “Just the way you can go out and express yourself in different ways.”
Originally from basketball, Carbone said it was her friends who initially got her to try out the sport she can now not get enough of.
“Originally I was a basketballer and I had a couple of friends who were playing footy and I thought it was just a really good opportunity for me to come across and transfer some skills and just fell in love with the game,” she said.
With the rapid growth of women’s football across the country, Carbone said the development pathway in the Northern Territory has benefited from the NT Thunder being involved in the Victorian Football League (VFL) Women’s competition.
“I feel like it really has (benefited), with the help of our new (Thunder Academy) coach Heidi Thompson,” Carbone said. “I feel like there is a bigger pathway for us girls growing up in the Northern Territory with the VFL coming up having those older ladies there being role models for us to look up to and compete against is a really great opportunity for someone like me.”
As a player, Carbone loves the contested side of football, backing herself to go in and win the hardball and try and be “hungry” to win the footy and shovel it out to teammates. While she is still constantly building her awareness of the game and its structures, she is getting more and more adaptable to the rigours of Australian rules football.
It is never easy combining two different states into one and expecting them to gel, though Carbone said the Northern Territory and South Australian representatives made it work incredibly well.
“I think that like us as a team have really grown together really quickly,” she said. “I think we have good morals and we trust and believe in each other and that’s a really good thing that we’ve been trying to build and we’ve been able to get to know each other really quick and built this team really well.”
As an individual, Carbone has pride everytime she pulls on a Central Allies jumper.
“For me it’s really heartwarming (to be included in the squad),” she said. “It’s a great opportunity for me as a young woman to be a role model for other girls who are growing up like me. “I play footy because I love the game and I play for my family and putting on the Central Allies colours and having a jersey that means so much, just being able to go out there and give it my all and hopefully live up to that.”
While Carbone is enjoying the journey and intends to continue to do so, she has always looked up to others in her life both personally and professionally which drives her to succeed.
“I have lots of role models that I look up to in different aspects of people,” Carbone said. “Like my dad is one of the biggest role models I have in my life, with the likes of (Angela) Foley who’s been a big presence for the NT youth women and Chelsea Randall as well. “Just being that someone to look up to with a great personality and just really showing if you have a good work ethic you can make it.”
With the AFL Women’s Draft now two months away, it is a nervous time for any young draft hopeful, but as she knows, Carbone is prepared for whatever path she needs to take on her journey to reach her goal.