As we enter our second season of the AFLW, and kick off the 2023 AFLW season, we bring you our new series On the mark, presented by Bing Lee where we meet our AFLW team and find out what makes them tick.
Stay tuned to sydneyswans.com.au/aflw for all the latest interviews and AFLW news.
Just days from Chloe Molloy’s 50th game in Round 3, we asked the star athlete what she’d tell herself on debut – with the experience she has now.
“Have fun with it. Be bold. Be brave,” she replied.
“With your actions on the field, but also with your actions off the field.”
Molloy made her debut for Collingwood in 2018. After six seasons with the club, it was the same courageous energy – the ‘do what makes you happy’ kind – that saw the midfielder relocate to the Sydney Swans. Despite playing just a handful of games for the red and white, the co-captain is already leaving a lasting impact.
At what point did you realise you could take your passion for AFL into a professional career?
“It was the day the AFL announced that the AFLW was going to be brought forward from being introduced in 2020 to 2017. And I had signed a basketball college scholarship so I couldn’t be drafted that year. So, I had to wait. Within 24 hours, I decided I didn’t want to go to college in America, I’m playing AFLW.
“I did AusKick U9s, 10s, 11s, 12s and then stopped because there was no pathway for women’s footy, so I went and pursued basketball.”
Who do you credit for your success?
“There are so many people in your sporting journey, that I don’t want to even just name a single individual. I’ve needed different mentors or different educators, coaches and teammates, that have all played a part in getting me to where I am. So, I feel like it would be an injustice to just say one person.
“I think my family has been big from the very beginning, they were big advocators for me playing football and for just, ‘do what makes you happy.’ That’s how I’ve ended up in Sydney.”
What life lesson did you learn the hard way?
“Footy is not everything. And that is like in a real silver lining way that I learnt that when I was injured. We get critiqued every time we train, we get told we need to do this, and do that, and you want to do that so badly because you want to succeed at what you do. You just get so engulfed in it, you forget about the outside life and that you need to be balanced.
“When I got injured with my foot in 2019, coming off the back of a really good individual season, I was sky-high. Then I had an injury that kept me on the sideline for 500 days, and I was broken goods when you can’t do what you are meant to do. I lost who I was. I thought, ‘I don’t have an identity outside ‘Chloe the Footballer,’ and that was really hard because I was young too.”
Can you recall the most defining moment of your life so far?
“It was a coach or a teammate that told me I was arrogant. And it stuck with me because I have never wanted to be an individual that came across as arrogant. It’s defining in a way, probably the opposite way you thought I’d answer it, that I never ever wanted to be described in that term by my teammates. You play team sports for a reason, I wanted to be the selfless individual but to know that someone thought I was arrogant and selfish, cut so deep that I thought, I need to shift whatever I am doing… I needed to step out of what I’m doing.”
If you weren’t playing AFL, what do you think you’d be doing? Do you think it would still be basketball?
“No. I think I would be doing something not-for-profit. A lot of enjoyment for me comes from giving back to others. I’m working for What Ability and it’s the most rewarding job – I wouldn’t even describe it as a job.”
My eyes have been opened, I feel really fulfilled. I feel good when I help others.
What are you most grateful for?
“The fact that I am adored by many people, because of the paths or relationships I’ve created. I am grateful that I have been able to create vulnerable relationships with people that they, a lot of what I do, yes, it’s for me, but it’s for others. I want others to feel good. I want other people to succeed.”
What is your most controversial opinion?
“It’s so simple. When you have Nutella on toast, or peanut butter, it’s always butter first. You have to look after the toast.”
Whether you’re preparing for training or a match, do you have any superstitions or things you must do beforehand?
“I don’t. I remember going into a chat about game day. It shifted my mindset because we have to be adaptable, we need to be flexible. God forbid a plane is late, or a bus is late or something throws you out, you don’t want to throw out the start of your prep, just because something happened, and the timing was off. I am the most chill individual, very much ‘go with the flow’. I would not have any superstitions, and I don’t think I’ll create any.”
In your own opinion, what are your greatest strengths?
“I think my empathetic side once you get to see it. I think my empathetic nature, my ability to understand and what to understand from someone else’s point of view. Especially being a co-captain, now, you are representative of a lot of people”
Who is your sports hero?
“My sport hero was Steph Rice and Jenna O’Hea. Steph doing what she did in the Olympics was the coolest thing and in grade 4, you could write to the athletes and I wrote like four or five letters to Steph, just in the hope I would get one back. And Jenna O’Hea was who I wanted to be when I grew up.”
This profile series is presented by Bing Lee.