SANFLW 23 Under 23 in 2023: #3 Molly Brooksby
AS PART of a new countdown series leading into the 2023 South Australian National Football League (SANFL) Women’s season, we will name 23 players to watch who are under 23. We are only looking at those players who were born January 1, 2000 or later, have played a SANFL Women’s senior match and have never been on an AFL Women’s list. Today we are on the podium with Norwood midfielder Molly Brooksby who comes in at number #3.
#3 Molly Brooksby (Norwood)
Local club: Golden Grove
Outside the two Most Valuable Player (MVP) winners of the past two years, Brooksby looms as one who is likely to take the next step in her career in 2023. The Norwood winger moved inside when taking part in the Under 17s Futures game, throwing back to her roots as a junior at Golden Grove. An incredibly hard-working winger at the Redlegs, the big thing about Brooksby is the lack of flaws in her game. While the top two on this list have had the greater accomplishments to-date, Brooksby just about ticks every box you could hope from a midfielder.
The Norwood talent is a good size at 171cm, with high endurance and a determination to get to the contest be it on the outside for the handball receive, or getting to the coalface and winning a hard ball. Brooksby’s greatest strength comes in her ball use, and while she is clean by hand, her kicking skills are sublime. Not just on her preferred right side, but also on her left, which makes her incredibly damaging wherever she is on the ground. She can hit targets with low bullets on her right or left, and her work rate to get to ball-winning positions means she is more than capable of finding plenty of it.
Though she largely played on a wing for the Redlegs in 2022, she is anticipating a move inside this season, and build on her nine games from her debut year. Last season she averaged the 11.8 disposals, 4.4 tackles, 2.0 clearance sand 2.4 inside 50s, and while those numbers do not jump off the page, her consistency with impact was always high. If she averages around 20 touches per game, then the opposition will be in a world of pain given her incredible accuracy with each touch.
For improvement in 2023, it is anticipated her production rate will increase, and if she returns on-ball then it seems a no-brainer with her football smarts around the stoppages. Compared to the remaining two players on this list, Brooksby enters this year with lower expectations externally, but internally she is rated incredibly highly, and her ability has not gone unnoticed from those keeping tabs on the top AFLW Draft prospects.