Molly Brooksby signed with Port Adelaide as part of the expansion Under 18 Talent Pathway pre-signing period. Image: Brooke Bowering.

IF you ask most athletes about who inspires them, the might rattle off a list of star sportswomen or men.

Molly Brooksby is the exception.

The young Port Adelaide recruit, claimed as part of the expansion Under 18 Talent Pathway pre-signing period before last year’s draft, lists her dad Graeme Brooksby as the biggest influence on her both as a player and a person.

“He's been a massive part of my footy journey,” Brooksby explained. “Obviously he’s the one who got me involved in the game, and I'll be forever grateful for that.

“He is just so supportive of my goals and will do anything to help me achieve them. I'm just so lucky to have him in my life.”

Had it not been for her dad, Brooksby may never have taken up football.

Molly Brooksby credits her dad for helping her achieve her footy dream. Image: Brooke Bowering.

She and her three siblings all played soccer at Modbury Vista growing up, and she even played in that club’s State League women’s side before dedicating herself completely to Aussie Rules.  

“I started playing footy in 2017, I think that was under 12s,” the teenager explained.

“I had that soccer background growing up, I had played soccer my whole life but around that time my dad just came to me and said, ‘Oh, I looked at a girls’ team’ and yeah, I registered and from there I just loved it.

“That was at Golden Grove. We went to Tea Tree Gully but they didn’t have a team, so we went to Golden Grove, and then three weeks later Tea Tree Gully contacted us saying they were having a team.”

While Brooksby and her three siblings grew up playing soccer at Modbury Vista in boys’ teams until the under 12s when she moved into female competitions and continued all the way up to playing in the women’s state league, football eventually took over as her main passion.

And it helped that she was good at it.

“The game came pretty easy to me,” she smiled. “I went out there and just loved it running around chasing the ball.

“It was always a big part of my life growing up, watching the footy all the time but playing footy wasn't an option at the time so when all the girls teams came in, it was just a great opportunity and I jumped on it.

“I kept playing soccer the first few years, until I was 15 or 16 in 2020, but I just fell in love with footy and the people around me just made the game even better.”


Humble, composed but self-assured, Brooksby last year graduated from Gleeson College, a school known for its soccer and netball programs. The school recently started an AFLW program – too late for Brooksby but something that makes her happy to know.

While it is not something she has sought out, leadership seems to come naturally to the Golden Grove product.

School Captain at St David’s Parish School in her primary school days, her leadership continued to be recognised as a house captain at Gleeson.

“I guess playing sport growing up you are sort of exposed to being a leader and you develop different leadership qualities,” Brooksby explained. “That's definitely something that I've taken out of playing sport over the years so I guess that is something that I bought into going through school but my focus was always just being a good person.

“People noticed that and then they see you as a leader, which gave me some great opportunities.”

Molly Brooksby is surprised at training, finding out her footy dream has come true. Image: Brooke Bowering.

She is now looking forward to the opportunity to test herself against the best in the AFLW.

Noted for her kicking accuracy and her run, Brooksby is expecting to play on the wing or off halfback, though she knows there will be a big step up from SANFLW to AFLW.

“It's a huge jump, and it's such a great opportunity,” she said.

“There are so many great people involved in the W program at Port Adelaide and I guess that will bring a wealth of knowledge and resources, so I just really want to utilise them to grow and improve my game.

“There are high standards, but that will just help me lift my standards, which I am looking forward to.”