“IT WAS the most fun I’ve had doing anything… I loved it.”
Conceding he’s the sort of person who doesn’t give a whole lot away, Jack Carroll couldn’t hide his joy after making his AFL debut on Saturday night.
Carlton’s newest No.16 made a great impression in his opening hitout, collecting 19 disposals — with the first of those producing a memorable first goal of the game, and his career.
It marked a significant moment for the 19-year-old, who entered the doors of IKON Park 18 months ago as the youngest player in the competition.
Now with a senior nod under his belt, Carroll was surrounded by teammates, coaches and - most importantly - family, after a mad dash upon the news that he would be a late inclusion.
There were more than a few of them in the 40,000-strong crowd on Saturday night: a far cry from the 2,000 that were at the GNFL Grand Final, which Carroll nominated as his biggest game crowd-wise prior to the weekend.
“Everyone got around me — it was awesome,” Carroll said.
“It was so good to get my parents over. Mum and Dad were stoked because they got to finish work early for the day!
“They headed straight for Perth and flew over. A few of my mates did as well: my mate’s dad didn’t get into Melbourne until 5:30am [on Saturday morning]. It was so good to see everyone.”
Carroll made the trip across the Nullarbor as a 17-year-old but has made Carlton his home since then, impressing all comers particularly over the most recent pre-season.
Two individuals who have had a big say in Carroll’s development are Patrick Cripps and Michael Voss, who spoke when Carroll was announced to debut and also pulled the first-gamer aside post-match.
He said it was important to embrace the occasion with the two of them.
“They just said they were really proud of me,” he said on the interaction.
“It’s been a body of work to get to this point and ‘Crippa’ is someone I look up to a lot. He’s helped my so much to get to this point.
“The same with ‘Vossy’. He’s the Senior Coach and through the last few weeks and over the whole pre-season, he’s helped me so much.
“I was sharing the moment with them.”