Young Cub earns her stripes

Sophie Molan. Photo-richmondfc.com.au

In only her second year in the AFLW, Sophie Molan is already an integral part of the Richmond line up.

The Inner Sanctum spoke to Molan about her junior career and her first few seasons in the AFLW.

Hailing from the Victorian town of Ballarat and growing up with three younger brothers, Molan wanted to play football alongside them.

“My brother started playing under 8s and I just wanted to play as well. I’d done Auskick as well because he was there, so I joined in then I finally asked my dad to play and he said yes.” Molan told The Inner Sanctum.

“I sucked at the start, I remember the first few games I didn’t touch the ball at all, I sat at full forward and didn’t touch it at all.

“Eventually got a bit better it was just the boys that influenced me, and I wanted to do what they were doing all the time, and nobody could stop me so that was how I got involved.”

Molan was the first selection for Richmond in the 2018 draft, which also meant that she was the first draft pick for Richmond in the AFLW.

“It was so cool, I’d met with Richmond a few times before that and I’d met with the doggies as well, so I wasn’t sure where I was going to go,” she said.

“When it finally got my name called out and I was there on the day with my family it was really awesome.

“Just a bit of reward for effort and I can finally say that I had been drafted to the big stage and got that opportunity.

“I went back to Richmond on draft day. They through a barbecue for all the kids that had been drafted so that was pretty cool and got to meet all my teammates and the staff.

“We got a tour of Punt Road which was awesome my brothers and my mum are massive Richmond fans, so they were pretty excited about it all, my youngest brother sat in one of the board room chairs with the old paintings above it so he was pretty stocked about it.

“Tommy Hunter who was the coach at the time presented me with my number I’m number one, they gave me that number because I was their first pick, so they wanted a little bit of history for the club.”

Molan’s debut was in Richmond’s historic debut game against Carlton at Ikon Park.

“Unreal experience, I don’t think anything will ever match it. Obviously didn’t get the win but being able to run out Infront of a crowd that big at Ikon Park,” she said.

“I think we had 11 or 12 debutants on the day, so it wasn’t just about me it was about all those girls making their debut and the club making history playing their first game in the competition.”

Richmond is a club that prides themselves on its connection, which is evident in the way the club operates behind the scenes.

“They really do, I think it is really evident being at the club,” Molan said.

“We had two to three Zoom calls every week whether it was just checking up on the group just being able to have a chat and catch up to see what everyone is doing.

“We had some fitness over zoom where we’d have some bike sessions, or we’d do little circuits and stuff on camera to see that you weren’t the only one doing the work.

“We also had little group activities that we did through the break with a little bit of competition which was nice.

“We did a good job to stay connected and that’s shown on how we’ve come back after the break.”

Richmond didn’t win a game in its first season in the AFLW, but after several weeks of improvement, the Tigers’ first win finally came in Round 5 against the Cats down in Geelong.

“It was bloody awesome, we came into the game knowing that we played some pretty good footy before that. But we knew that we just had to stick with what we’ve done previously and not change anything and that it will eventually come to us,” Molan said.

“The group just stuck to their guns and we ended up getting a win and it wasn’t just the players on the field all the emergencies and all the girls who couldn’t get to the game, it is just as much of their win as what it was for us.

“Our staff that have done so much for the team across two years and it just meant so much to the club as a whole. It was just awesome.”

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