It was an exciting and emotional evening at Fremantle on Thursday as senior coach Trent Cooper announced that six players would make their AFLW debuts, and that was especially so for Ann McMahon.

It’s hard to think of a player who has endured more to get to the top level. After missing out on being drafted due to a knee injury, McMahon was severely injured in a workplace incident as a WA Police Officer in December 2019, suffering multiple injuries that seemed career-ending at the time.

But just over two years later, McMahon will run out to play her first AFLW game in Saturday’s ARC Derby at Fremantle Oval.

McMahon paid tribute to her wife Izzy for helping her through the toughest times in her recovery and she fought back tears when talking about her partner in an interview with

“Izzy has stuck by me the whole time,” McMahon said.

“I can’t thank her enough, really. I probably wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for Iz.

“There’s a lot of people behind the scenes at the Club who have helped me, just so many people. There’s probably not enough time to thank them all and I’ll probably forget some of them, but everyone who’s stuck by me and backed me in.”

04:14 Mins
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'It's still a little bit surreal' | Ann McMahon debut

Ann McMahon speaks about what it means to be making her long-awaited debut in round one.

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McMahon said it was an emotional time when she called Izzy to tell her the news.

“She was half asleep when I called her to let her know. I don’t think it really sunk in at the time either. A bit emotional and I could tell she was just really proud of me,” McMahon said.

“It’s still a little bit surreal and it hasn’t quite sunk in but I’m ready to go for Saturday.”

The forward / midfielder naturally went through periods where she wondered if she would ever play AFLW level.

“There’s always some doubts that sort of creep into the back of your mind,” McMahon said.

03:41 Mins
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Freo's six debutants get the news

Watch the reactions of Fremantle's six round one debutants as they are given the news they will be playing their first AFLW game.

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“It’s just one foot in front of the other and the Club had faith that I would get to where I told them I could get to. I’m just grateful that they backed me in.

“It’s been a decent slog. There was a lot of hard work, sweat, sacrifices and not just from me, from Iz as well. There’s a lot of people behind the scenes that helped me get to where I am now.”

Debutant's silver lining
Six to debut in RAC Derby!
Match day information: RAC Derby
Gallery: Training 4 January