Leagues: SANFL Women's League, AFLW U18 Championships, AFLW U17 Championships
Molly Brooksby is perhaps the best ball user in the AFLW Draft, particularly when it comes to reliability, depth and decision making. She is such a smart player who rarely makes a mistake with ball-in-hand and can deliver 45m passes on her right or left. Though there are areas to work on, the Norwood top-ager is among the top players in this year’s crop.
+ Clean hands
+ Footy IQ
+ Decision making
- Explosive speed
Brooksby stands at 171cm, which is a good height for a versatile midfielder. Playing with Norwood in the SANFL Women's, the talented bottom-ager hit the scene last year predominantly as a wing. Though a new position, Brooksby was able to grasp it with both hands, and though she was on the outside, still averaged 4.3 tackles from her 11.7 disposals at the level.
Entering her top-age year, the AFLW Academy member spent time on the sidelines with knee and hamstring issues, delaying the start to her season. She returned to play a fairly full representative season, donning the Australian jumper for the Academy against the Under 23 All-Stars, and then for the Croweaters at another unbeaten national carnival.
After a couple of quiet weeks to start the SANFLW season, Brooksby found her grove again and finished the year with some strong performances against South Adelaide in the final round, and then Sturt in the first final. There, playing off half-back, Brooksby had 23 disposals, 10 rebound 50s and even kicked a goal to really remind people of what she is capable of.
On her draft profile itself, Brooksby is clearly among the top 10 players in the country. She has clean hands both above her head and below her knees, and once she has the ball she has the composure and decision making to hit those difficult kicks across the ground with ease. Put simply, she is a distributor and a player that teammates love to get the ball in the hands of regularly.
Having played on the wing, inside midfield, half-back and even the odd quarter here or there at half-forward, Brooksby is a really well-rounded utility. She applies defensive pressure, maintaining four tackles per game for the Redlegs, while having that offensive output. Being able to hit the scoreboard while playing half-back is a skill in itself and is credit to her general footballing IQ and understanding of the game.
Like all top players, finding areas of improvement in her game are nit-picky, but realistically Brooksby is not the explosive player that can burst away from a stoppage or run off half-back to create separation. She is not slow, but more just average in that category, with her reaction skills - reading the ball and assessing the play quicker than everyone else - allowing her to gain separation over just having that explosive speed.
Along with that element to improve, her production numbers could increase. She has shown she is capable of winning 20-plus disposals in a game, but is regularly more of the 15-to-18 touch player. Gaining greater consistency and continuity in a singular role will definitely help with that, and Brooksby is someone who teammates will quickly identify as one who can do a lot of damage with ball-in-hand.
Overall, Brooksby has a lot of really top-end traits, and whether or not she ends up in Port Adelaide colours like her Next-Generation Academy, or anywhere else, the Norwood talent is going to be a very impressive player at AFLW level.
Molly Brooksby is a top 10 player on talent, and with her incredible dual-sided kicking ability and outstanding decision making, the Norwood young gun is set to make waves at the next level. Though Port Adelaide will closely monitor her as a draft option, no doubt there is interest from across the country in securing her services.
SANFL Women's League
AFLW U18 Championships
AFLW U17 Championships