Doonan signs AFLW contract with Essendon

On Friday morning, it emerged that Kinawley’s Joanne Doonan had signed a two year contract with Essendon’s inaugural Australian Football League Women’s (AFLW) side.

Doonan is one of four players who have been signed from the club’s VFLW (Victorian Football League Women’s) second tier outfit and will make the step up next season.

“It was just a whirlwind, it was just fantastic. I was pinching myself that it came true. I’ve been working a long time for it, even when I was at home, it was in the back of my mind that I always wanted to go back to Australia and football thankfully kept me focused and I was able to push on and try get into the best shape for football, alongside thinking, I’m going to need to do this anyway when I come back out here. So thankfully, all the hard work has paid off,” says the 27 year old.

Doonan made the move to Melbourne in mid February and has impressed for the club, with the Bombers sitting top of the table and aiming to make a grand final this season. The VFLW was always a stepping stone for Doonan, who is enjoying her second stint playing football in Australia, having previously played for AFLW side Carlton in 2020 but had her time cut short due to the onset of the pandemic.

When news of her contract arrived late last week, Doonan says she was unaware that the offer was coming;

“I was actually meeting with another club, I had an interview and we had scheduled to meet the Head Coach and see how that went but they (Essendon) were kind of on the line of offering me a contract as well. At this stage, I hadn’t been talking much with Essendon, they can be quite quiet with what was going on and they were happy with how we were playing and just watching.

“It was Thursday night before training, I was asked to come in for a meeting with the Operations Manager, Charlotte, and then she brought me into a room with the Essendon manager and the AFLW Head Coach and I kind of knew it was something good or bad” she laughs.

“So yeah, they offered me a contract then, so I was delighted because I really didn’t want to move clubs. I have really enjoyed my time at Essendon and it’s obviously a massive help transitioning into AFLW with some of the girls I’m already playing with.”



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