WHEN Josh Carmichael ran out onto the MCG for Collingwood Football Club last Saturday, it had only been 371 days since he pulled on another black and white football jumper – that of the Merbein Football and Netball Club’s.

Carmichael played nine matches with Merbein last season, from April through to July.

But last weekend, just a bit more than a month after being picked up by the AFL powerhouse that is the Magpies in the mid-season draft, he made his debut for the club.

And what a debut it was as Collingwood pulled off an edge of your seat come from behind victory.

As part of the entertainment before the game at the MCG a clip was shown on the many screens around the venue introducing the Collingwood players.

Fan favourites like Jack Ginnivan and Scott Pendlebury drew cheers from the crowd, but when Carmichael’s name flashed up, the crowd also came to life, acknowledging the excitement of his debut.

The footballer had to wait around 10 minutes before he entered the game and as the match progressed, so did his involvement.

He kicked two behinds, one that was arguably worthy of a review, had 14 disposals, two marks and three tackles.

Most prominently though, Carmichael held his own when the Magpie’s made their comeback, delivering the ball to perfection to his team mates on numerous occasions in the dying minutes of the last quarter.

His composure and talent left the Magpie’s fans impressed.

“I think Collingwood has found a ‘good one’, he appears to be natural player, an old fashioned footballer in the mould of Mihocek; and a great country character, after viewing his interviews,” one fan wrote.

Another comment from a supporter was: “Like the look of the kid! That kick out on the boundary is Daicos like. A lot of kids would panic and just kick it long and that’s what the opposition would think that it’s going long, but to pull the kick across the ground to the dangerous zone 30 out is impressive. Needs to add some muscle to his frame, get the tempo and learn the midfield craft but it’s a good start. Well done!”

Other comments described Carmichael as “absolute brilliance”, “a clever user of the ball” and “smart”.

In an interview with the club following the match, Carmichael described his debut, and Collingwood’s come from behind win, as “pretty incredible, pretty surreal”.

“Just to walk out there the first time and get the win with the boys coming from behind, it was pretty special, I can’t believe it still,” he said.

He said given he was only drafted a month ago, he was lucky to be making his debut, and everything had fallen his way.

“To go out there with the boys, they all have my back and to go out there with the confidence, knowing that they will be there with me every step of the way, it’s incredible,” he said.

“The journey has come so quickly and hopefully I can keep it rolling, I loved it.”

– ZOEY ANDREWS

Photos: COLLINGWOOD FOOTBALL CLUB