To call recent Melbourne Victory debutant Polly Doran a high-achiever might be underselling things a tad.
The 18-year-old recorded her first-ever W-League appearance in week one of the 2019/20 season when she replaced Teigen Allen as a 79th-minute substitute in Sunday evening’s Big Blue meeting between Victory and Sydney FC.
Though the scoreline conspired to ensure that her W-League bow was not to be an unabashed success – Poran entered the game with her side down 2-0 and ultimately watched on as Sydney’s Shadeene Evans made it 3-0 in the 92nd minute – the opportunity to run out onto the surface at Jubilee Stadium was, nevertheless, a memorable moment.
“The lead up to it was very exciting,” the teen told The Women’s Game.
“Going on, it was such a blur really. I was trying to take everything in but at the same time focus on the job I had to do.
“After the game, obviously the disappointment of the result was the main thing for me, but once I could reflect on it I was pretty proud, my family was pretty proud.
“It was a good moment. The result definitely didn’t go our way, but it was still a great feel-good moment for me."
However, while Sunday’s contest, without a doubt, represented the highest level of competition Doran has yet experienced in her burgeoning footballing career, it was far from the first time the youngster had experienced senior football.
Debuting for Essendon Royals’ senior side at the age of 14 in 2016, Doran then became a regular for the club’s State League One campaign the following year before earning a move to NPLW Victoria powerhouses Calder United ahead of the 2018 season.
Playing behind Calder’s high-powered front three of Aleksandra Sinclair, Catherine Zimmerman and Angie Beard – who moonlights higher up the pitch in the NPLW – Doran was still able to find the back of the net seven times in 25 appearances in her first season in the Victorian top-flight and then followed that up with 14 goals in 29 appearances in 2019.
Those individual accomplishments were matched with team success; Calder lifting the Team App Cup in 2018 and becoming the first side in the NPLW-era to secure the treble when they won the Nike FC Cup, Premiership and Championship in 2019.
Not a bad run for a kid who was juggling her football career with completion of high school.
“I was at Maribyrnong Sports Academy, so they were really big on making sure that the students were able to balance the athletic side with their studies,” Doran explained