“I WAS shook, speechless.”
The moment Domanic Akuei became a Carlton player was the most pleasant of surprises for the man himself.
A member of the Carlton Academy, Akuei is no stranger to his new home at IKON Park, having undertaken training and education sessions over the course of 2021.
Naturally, he was someone whose Carlton’s recruiters had kept a keen eye on, with Akuei ultimately becoming a Blue on Friday as a Category B rookie.
However, what Akuei thought was a run-of-the-mill meeting turned out to be the moment where his dream became a reality.
“They brought me into a meeting and I actually didn’t expect it at all,” Akuei said.
“They said ‘we need to talk’ and there were about five of them sitting there, including Michael Voss.
“They let me know the news there… I couldn’t say anything.”
It was a significant step in the football journey for Akuei, who was born in South Sudan before calling the northern suburbs of Melbourne his home.
Playing in just about every position for the Northern Knights due to his athleticism and vertical leap, Akuei - who was utilised as a ruckman at stages - is a defender first and foremost.
Featuring in the NAB League for the Northern Knights, Akuei went to school at Loyola College and St Mary’s in Greensborough was his junior club: the exact same trifecta as new teammate, Sam Philp.
Officially changing Preston City Oval for IKON Park, the excitement was palpable for Akuei, according to Head of List Management Nick Austin.
“He thought he was coming in for a chat just before the draft: it was a really emotional moment for him,” Austin said on Akuei finding out the news.
“He couldn’t wait to tell his mum. He’s a great kid with a fantastic family and great support: it’s a really exciting time for him and the community he comes from.
“He certainly didn’t see it coming on that day and he was shaking like a leaf walking in [Friday] morning officially as a Carlton player.
“It’s a fantastic story and we wish him all the best. The hard work for him starts now, but it’s a great opportunity.”