Northern Territory footballer Dominique Carbone signs with AFLW club Hawthorn

Footballer Dominique Carbone, among many other traits that have elevated her during sporting competition throughout her life, possesses “elite agility and tackling skills”.


This evaluation of Carbone was published by the Hawthorn Football Club earlier this week, when it announced the 20-year-old had become the club’s fourth signing for its upcoming inaugural season in the AFLW competition.

“Dom boasts a high work rate and is a high-endurance player that creates a lot of scoring opportunities for her teammates,” Mitchell Cashion, the club’s AFLW list manager, said.

“We are really excited to see what she brings to our side.”

A champion athlete throughout her childhood in Darwin, Carbone is the latest Territorian to rise up the ranks in Australia’s most remote capital city to reach the highest-level of Aussie Rules competition.

Carbone was a highly-successful junior basketbnaller before switching to football.(Supplied: Felicity Elliott / AFLNT Media)

Her path to the top has come with sacrifice and hard decisions, switching sports at the mature age of 16 from basketball, which she played seriously well and at a national level, to football.

The code switch would mean a move to Melbourne after missing out on being drafted in her first eligible draft year in 2019.

Since then, Carbone’s temperament and commitment to improve her game reads like a how-to guide for young athletes looking to reach the next level.

Dominique Carbone holds up her Gwynne Medal for best-on-ground in the NTFL grand final after the match.
Carbone with her Gwynne Medal for best-on-ground in the NTFL grand final earlier in 2022.(Supplied: AFLNT / Felicity Elliott)

“It was just kind of like someone just saying, ‘Hey, that’s okay, you’re not there yet’,” she said.

“I had to go into, how was my athletic ability? Was I fast enough, fit enough? If not, what can I do to be fitter and be faster? And then look at it from a skill perspective, and watch the games and see if it was up to scratch.”

Carbone would continue playing with her local club, the Darwin Buffaloes, where since 2019 she has won both an under-18 and Northern Territory Football League Premier League premiership.

In the Premier League victory, earlier this year, she won the Gwynne Medal for best-on-ground in an astonishing display boasting highlight goals, big tackles and a lot of disposals.

Her time at the Buffaloes, Carbone said, shaped her as a player and a person.

“At the Buffaloes we kind of make it our own,” she said.

“It was just a great environment and such a great community sense. Just to be a part of something where people push you to be better and my development went really quickly due to the coaches being so well equipped, and obviously the girls really getting around me, like helping to teach me new skills.”

Dominique Carbone runs with the ball during an NTFL match.
Dominique Carbone won both an under-18 and Premier League premiership with the Darwin Buffaloes.(Supplied: AFLNT / Felicity Elliott)

In signing for Hawthorn, Carbone joins seven other Territory women — Danielle Ponter (Adelaide Crows), Stevie-Lee Thompson (Adelaide Crows), Jasmine Hewett (Adelaide Crows), Ashanti Bush (Gold Coast Suns), Janet Baird (Gold Coast Suns), Stephanie Williams (Geelong Cats) and Angela Foley (Port Adelaide) — in the AFLW.

She said Ponter, a two-time premiership star who grew up playing for St Mary’s, has been a guiding light. 

“Our local heroes really paved the way,” she said. 

“I love seeing good people succeed and Danielle’s definitely a great person, and I love seeing people from home go down and chase what they want to do.”


Carbone moved down to Melbourne to chase her dream at the age of 19, playing and impressing during the past two seasons with Hawthorn’s VFLW team.

“It was pretty daunting, but it was something I felt like I really needed to do,” she said.

“Probably at the time I wouldn’t be saying it, but now, it’s one of the best things that I’ve ever done.

“[Reaching the AFLW] was a massive goal of mine. It’s kind of unbelievable feeling.

“It wasn’t an easy journey. I had to work hard and I had to make massive sacrifices, but I wouldn’t change the journey at all, not for a second.”

Dominque Carbone stands on a field wearing a Hawthorn jersey.
Carbone is Hawthorn’s fourth signing ahead of its inagural season in the AFLW.(Supplied: Hawthorn Football Club)

Carbone reeled off a list of names of other Territory women who have relocated to Melbourne to play VFLW and have a crack at the AFLW.

“It’s a really exciting time,” she said.

“But at the end of the day, footy isn’t everything, sport isn’t everything, and that’s what you kind of realise.

“Schooling is really important … it’s so important because we’re not full-time athletes at this point in time.

“The AFLW hasn’t reached a full-time status yet. Women need a career as well as a footy career.”

Now, Carbone will juggle her occupational therapy studies with her own AFLW career, which kicks off when the next season begins in December.

“It’s just the beginning now,” she said. “Now the real training starts.”

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