AFLW U16s Player Focus: Molly Ferguson (Lions Academy)

ALREADY boasting an AFLW Under 16s MVP to her name, Brisbane Lions Academy midfielder Molly Ferguson started off this year’s edition on fire with a dominant best on ground display in the Lions Academy’s loss to Vic Country on Sunday.

Kicking off the 2024 carnival at Trevor Barker Oval, the players endured ever-changing conditions including heavy rain, but throughout the entire contest Ferguson was rock solid and racked up a match-high 33 disposals and ran at 84.8 per cent disposal efficiency which was incredible considering the conditions.

She is our first Player Focus of the carnival as she looks to build towards a promising next few seasons.


2024 AFLW Under 16 Championships
Lions Academy 4.4 (28) lost to Vic Country 5.4 (34)

#2 Molly Ferguson (Lions Academy)
Stats: 33 disposals (18 kicks, 15 handballs) @ 84.8% efficiency, 7 marks (3 contested), 6 tackles, 3 clearances, 8 inside 50, 2 rebound 50s


Ferguson started the game at the opening centre bounce and won a touch immediately off the back of the stoppage. She read the ball well off hands at another stoppage a minute later and was able to deliver inside 50. That element in her game – anticipating the drop of the ball and taking it cleanly – was a strength of hers throughout the match.

Playing as the second possession winner to use her dash and skill to advantage, Ferguson made a rare error kicking close to the boundary line that went out on the full, but quickly won the ball back and was able to keep it inside the lines and to a contest.

Ferguson’s tackling technique – which was shown in the ninth minute – involved the classic one-arm pin which was perfect to lock the ball up. When the ball was thrown up, she collected the ball cleanly and dished off a handball to a teammate.

Midway through the quarter, Ferguson was rotated forward, which was something that became common over the next two terms. In the 13th minute, she won the ball off the half volley pushing up to the wing, was tackled just as she got the handball away then proceeded to chase when an opponent won it back.

She applied good pressure while forward, and when she had a rare fumble up on the wing late in the term, she worked hard for a second effort to win it and then kicked effectively to a teammate running in the middle of the ground.


Despite a busy first term of seven disposals, Ferguson was about to have an enormous second term, racking up 11 touches to take her half-time tally to 18. Her first touch was an effective kick from the wing after a mark, and then picked up another following a last touch out of bounds which she sent inside 50 to the hotspot.

Throughout the second term, Ferguson seemed to not even be bothered by the ongoing shower that plagued Trevor Barker Oval, more often than not scooping it up like it was a dry day. Though she herself at times had trouble with keeping feet as it got wetter underfoot, she was still able to dish off the ball quickly and efficiently.

This term was the one where she put pressure on the opposition defence and booted the ball deep to the danger zone time and time again, and it helped the Lions Academy work its way back into the game. Brisbane kicked two goals in the quarter to hit the front by half-time.

For Ferguson, like in the first term, she moved to half-forward in the last 10 minutes of the term, but could not help but be involved further afield when in transition. Though most of the ball was camped inside the Lions’ forward 50, it made life a lot easier for natural ball-winners like Ferguson and she did plenty of damage by hand or foot.

Molly Ferguson about to dispose of the ball against Vic Country. Image credit: Rob Lawson/AFL Photos


At the first centre bounce, Ferguson’s opponent was a lot tighter checking on her, having gone their separate ways earlier. Once they left the stoppage though, they were left to their own devices as is the way at national carnivals.

Ferguson had her first touch via a mark on the wing, and almost took another 30 seconds later but just slipped through her fingers. She cleanly scooped it up and dished off once again to a free teammate showing great vision and decision making by hand.

In the fourth minute she marked in the middle and delivered a precision kick to Mia Geere at centre half-forward, then a minute later when the ball was back between the arcs, Ferguson held onto an awkward handball, but managed to quickly adjust and hit a free target on the wing.

Midway through the term she pushed into defence and won a loose clearing kick, but made one of the few decision making errors she did in an otherwise ultra-impressive game. She handballed to a teammate under more pressure and backwards, where her teammate was smothered and it lead to a turnover goal.

Bouncing back from that, Ferguson intercepted a touch in the final minute after going to ground to lock it in across the dying moments, then when required fired out a handball to a free teammate. By the final break, Ferguson was up to an impressive 28 disposals.


In counter-contrast to the other three quarters, Ferguson started the term forward and only moved into the middle halfway through the term. Brisbane had a fair bit of the ball in its forward half through the last quarter, and the young talent was able to capitalise on that.

She started the term with a mark on the wing pushing up, then had a clean handball after reading it perfectly off hands at a forward stoppage. Even when tackled immediately, Ferguson has a knack for getting her arms, or at least the ball free, rarely pinged holding the ball.

In the eighth minute, Ferguson did brilliantly one-on-one with her opponent, working her opponent off the ball, taking it cleanly with one touch then kicking to a teammate’s advantage in the forward pocket. By the 10th minute, Ferguson was pulling out the party tricks, producing a one-handed gather running off half-back under pressure and somehow without breaking stride turned inboard and hit a free Geere in the corridor.

Though Ferguson only finished the game with five disposals in the last quarter, most were sublime, and her skills in the wet really stood out. Be it midfield or forward, she showed she has traits for both as she reads the ball well off hands and is more than capable overhead.


Molly Ferguson is a promising midfielder who will rotate forward throughout her career. She has the traits that are transferrable to half-back as well, and won 50 per cent of her possessions in a contest. To run at that high contested rate with an elite disposal efficiency is very impressive, and her first outing at this year’s national carnival was one to remember.

She is still building her game with areas to work on such as her one-on-one work against the bigger bodies, but she has the smarts, skill and vision that will hold her in good stead. As a double bottom-ager, Ferguson still has years to develop her craft, and she is an exciting player for the Lions Academy in the coming seasons.

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