‘Don’t waste a single moment’

Dear future AFLW players, future adversaries and future teammates,

I want to start this letter with something a little different to the way letters have been constructed in previous years.

I’m going to highlight some key players from years gone by.

  • Stevie-Lee Thompson (Adelaide) 2016 Draft, Pick 106: two-time Adelaide premiership player, AFLW leading goal kicker, All Australian.
  • Dana Hooker (West Coast Eagles, previously Fremantle) 2016 Draft, Pick 130: two-time All Australian, Fremantle Best and Fairest winner.
  • Courtney Gum (previously GWS Giants) 2017 Draft, Pick 25: AFLPA MVP, All-Australian.
  • Danielle Ponter (Adelaide) 2018 Draft, Pick 48: Round 4 AFLW Rising Star Nomination, kicked 13 goals in eight games. Adelaide Premiership player.

You might be wondering why I listed these four current and past AFLW players.

Well, it just proves my point that where you are drafted has little bearing on how successful your career might be. At the end of the day, it is just a number.

Once you are at the club it is an even playing field. If you put the hard work in, you will reap the rewards.

But, back to the draft.

Being drafted into the AFLW system had only been a goal of mine for just over a year, as I had previously put all my energy into basketball and heading to college in the United States.

For some, if not all, of you I know this is something that you will have been investing in for years.

Leading into the draft, myself and Isabel Huntington (Western Bulldogs) were tipped to be taken with the No. 1 pick. Despite the media hype, I would always shrug it off as I was just so grateful to even been considered by clubs.

The day after the Draft I had an important assessment due for my Bachelor of Sports Media subject. ‘Media and the Law’ – which was never my forte – and it was near impossible to study in the lead-up knowing what was happening around me!

Being drafted, and, in my case, drafted to the club I supported growing up is a feeling that’s difficult to put into words. I was overwhelmed that I was selected at all, but then to hear the words ‘Collingwood’ and ‘Chloe Molloy’ in the same sentence was something I never thought possible. My face hurt from smiling so much!

I experienced a lot of self-doubt before the draft. I wasn’t sure if I was up to the standard and even just sitting there with my Mum and Dad, I thought to myself, ‘What happens if my name isn’t called out?’

Ultimately, if you have to put in the hard work, then the results will come. You have done all you can to put yourself in the best position possible to be drafted. Let fate do its job now.

Embrace the day but make sure you’re looking sharp too – there’ll be plenty of media and you’ll want to look good for your Instagram snaps.

Draft Day is just the first chapter of your AFLW career, so write it how you want it to be written.

Celebrate with family and friends but be prepared to start pre-season shortly after!

Within 24 hours of being taken by Collingwood I was straight into the grind of pre-season. I didn’t want to leave any stone unturned.

I received the schedule for our pre-season in my email inbox and the first session was locked in.

There was no way I was going to miss a beat – straight into hill sprints I went.

All within a 24 hour window, I had been drafted and was preparing for my first pre-season as an AFLW footballer.

After the Draft the newest members of the Collingwood FCW team were taken back to the club for a surprise welcome. I instantly felt at home and my heart was full.

I was welcomed by the club with open arms, which made me feel at ease and I have no doubt the club that is fortunate enough to select you, will do the same.

Make it your home.

I have been wide-eyed since the moment I stepped into the Holden Centre. I get to rub shoulders with some of the best and to learn from each player and member of our team.

My mindset was just not to let any opportunity pass me by – use every moment of being an AFLW player to get better.

Lastly, be ready for the messages via every social channel you can think of. People are proud and they’ll want to congratulate you.

Make an effort to get back to everyone who took time to acknowlege your accomplishment – it’s time consuming but it is also important to stay humble.

If it makes life easier, copy and paste a generic thank you message, which you can personalise as you go.

Good luck to this year’s crop, may the odds be ever in your favour.

Don’t waste a single moment as an AFLW player.