Having nearly 50 games of experience, as well as her time in Australia’s basketball system, Chloe Molloy will be a worthy acquisition for the Sydney Swans this AFLW season.
Playing both Australian Rules Football as well as basketball, Molloy has experienced a rapid rise since turning to the AFLW in her time at Collingwood. If it were not for the league starting up in 2017, Molloy might have been playing basketball either in Australia or overseas.
She spoke exclusively to The Inner Sanctum about her choice to chase her AFLW dream instead of going to college in the United States.
“[I played both sports because] they didn’t overlap,” Molloy told The Inner Sanctum.
“I never had any overlap between basketball and footy, only because girls weren’t allowed to play football. I went on to play basketball and that’s the sole reason I ended up with a basketball career is because I couldn’t play footy.
“But the second the AFLW was established, I just had so much FOMO (fear of missing out) that I just couldn’t sit out for any longer so I actually gave up the [offer] to go to college and decided to stay here and throw my hat in the ring for the AFLW.
“I’m glad that the AFLW was established in 2017, because I don’t know how I would have gone against some of the basketballers that we’ve got now in Australia.”
Playing for Diamond Creek and Eltham during her junior basketball career, Molloy soon found her way to the SEABL (South East Australian Basketball League) where she featured for Nunawading.
2015 was a big year for Molloy, she received the Rookie of the Year award in her first season at the Melbourne Boomers in the WNBL (Women’s National Basketball League) as well as a spot in the 2016 Australian Gems squad (Under 19).
In addition to this, Molloy played for Victoria Country and Victoria Metro at state level six times where she won two national championships at Under-20 and Ivor Burge level, however her career hit a major crescendo in 2017.
For most aspiring basketballers, the experience of going over to the United States to college is too good to resist and for Molloy, that was almost the case. With offers coming from the Virginia Cavaliers, Fordham Rams and Virginia Commonwealth University, she was almost drawn into that world.
She described her basketball career, almost likening it to ‘another life’ that she had.
“I think sometimes I forget that I had the basketball career cause the years are just flying by,” Molloy said.
“I love that I have a history and a basketball career, there are some people that have come back into my world from basketball and for so long basketball was part of my life and [through] some crucial years, some big developmental stages of my life.
“I was playing basketball in just some incredible places, I’ve been overseas [and] I’ve played in the WNBL, not everybody gets to say that and I think I should probably think about it more.
“I’ve played alongside some of the Opals and I can call some of them my friends, which I think is amazing.
“I think it’s part of who I am and I’m really proud of my basketball years and sometimes I wonder what if I went to college, what would my life have looked like but I definitely haven’t ever regretted it.”
With a plethora of players in the AFLW coming not just from other codes, but those from basketball backgrounds, Molloy explained what draws players to play in the league and how the AFLW has integrated itself in the realm of Women’s sports.
“I just think that [Australian Rules Football] is an iconic sport and you grow up supporting your team, literally one of the first questions you ask an Aussie is ‘what [AFL] team do you support?’,” she said.
“An opportunity to play for the team you grew up supporting is not something that everyone gets to do, if you are in soccer watching Manchester United you might not get the opportunity to actually play for them.
“We are also playing in front of big crowds and the [large interest] that the AFLW is getting as well as [the interest overall] in Women’s Sport, is growing.
“I think AFLW has been a real pioneer in leading that, along with the Aussie cricketers and the Matilda’s, the AFLW would be [right] up there in how we are pushing women’s sport and I think why wouldn’t you want to be a part of that?
“Footy is a loved game [and] it’s how Australians identify themselves so I think that’s kind of the selling point that the AFLW has got.”
More Crossing Codes
With many players in the AFL and AFLW coming from basketball, there is a clear skillset that crosses over between sports, Molloy evaluates which skills have helped her.
“I think the skills cross over from basketball, and working in a small area and even just having peripheral awareness has definitely helped my football career. There is definitely skills and just the stock-standard morals from team sport that you just carry across every code and every sport.
Having played alongside some past and present Opals as a young player in the WNBL, Molloy looked back fondly when recalling some figures that inspired her or looked after her in the start of her career.
“I used to look up to Jenna O’Hea, she never took me under her wing but I just remember actually just idolising her,” Molloy explained.
“Tess Madgen was one that kind of took me in and I really got along with her, and Maddie Garrick [was as well] when I was at the Boomers really.
“[Garrick and Madgen] are the first two that come to mind when I think about who helped me [and] who took me under their wing and I still follow their careers.
“Tess, as experienced as she is just breaking into the Aussie side and she’s doing some incredible things and Garrick [has been] in the 3×3 Aussie side so they would be two names that come to mind.”Embed from Getty Images
Fast-forward to 2023, Molloy has now relocated to Sydney where she will now be based ahead of Season Eight of the AFLW. Coming in as a more-experienced player in a young team, Molloy switches her focus to becoming a mentor and becoming embedding in the Swans’ culture.
“I think I’ve got quite a few years left in me and if I still can get the body on track I can definitely squeeze as much football out of myself if I can, the ultimate [goal] is a premiership,” she says when asked about her goals for the rest of her career.
“I think that is every AFLW players’ ultimate dream and if I was to think of something else, I think a goal of mine [would be that] I would just love to say that anyone that comes across my path would say ‘that she was a good person’.
“I don’t really want any silverware or any trophies or any badges of honour, they are good to look back at in your career but I think something that would stay with me is if everyone I came in touch with, that they would have something good to say about me and say that I impacted their world in a positive way.
“I know that you can’t put that on a medal or on a trophy or engrave it anywhere but that would probably be a goal of mine that at the end of my career, that I can look back and catch up with people and just hear through the grapevine that people thought I had a positive impact on them.”
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