FROM not knowing what the AFLW Academy or Calder Cannons was to being a part of both programs, Molly Warburton has come a long way since she first picked up a football.
The Calder Cannons defender first started playing Aussie Rules in Year 9 when she played school football, and loved it immediately. This prompted her to give away her long junior career of netball, which spanned over nine years.
“I liked the intensity and everything about it (footy) I guess,” Warburton said. “Netball I felt was the same all the time and I just wanted a change-up. “Then I played footy and loved it.”
After that, Warburton devoted her time to football and was rewarded with a place in the Calder Cannons program. The defender says she was thrilled to get selected for the side.
“I was so excited,” she said. “I can’t describe it, I didn’t even know Youth Girls was a thing! “Then getting picked for all these other academies and stuff was pretty cool.”
Before she knew it, Warburton was selected to be a member of the AFLW Academy, which is another program she did not know she was able to access.
“I had no idea what that was,” the 17 year-old admitted. “On the way back from Nationals, I got a State of Origin letter and then a letter to the Academy and I was blown away.”
Warburton is enjoying playing in the AFLW Academy alongside some of the TAC Cup Girls players that she often comes up against.
“I’ve loved it so much,” she said. “Playing with the girls that we play against here, just the bonds you make with them has been awesome.”
She also thrives off the skills of Cannons teammates, Maddy Prespakis and Georgia Patrikios when she trains and plays with Calder. The trio have been long-term Calder players and have developed a close bond since being involved in the program.
“I think it’s good having those girls by your side,” Warburton said. “I’m really close with those two so just having them obviously pushes me to be better and just get around each other a bit.”
While she has enjoyed playing football in many different jumpers, Warburton admits that there are some long days in her week. Amidst Year 12, she has to juggle different training sessions as well as her own gym sessions, which can be taxing on the Gisborne local.
“So school’s obviously Monday to Friday,” Warburton said. “Tuesday and Thursday nights is Essendon training for VFL. “So pretty much as soon as I get home from school, I don’t get home until 9.30 or 10 o’clock. “I’ve got to fit study in usually with that. “Then there’s other days, maybe Wednesday or Fridays I can do a gym session or just like a body awareness type recovery as well and study. “Then the weekend’s footy.”
Although she has added training with Essendon’s VFLW side to her week, Warburton is really enjoying her time at the new club.
“I’ve absolutely loved it,” the 17 year-old said. “There’s good vibes down at the club. “The girls are amazing, the coaches are really good so it’s been good fun.”
The Calder defender made her debut for the Bombers on Sunday, alongside Cannons teammate, Carla Rendelmann. Next on her list of commitments is heading to the Gold Coast to represent Vic Metro at the AFL Women’s National Under 18 Championships.
This is Warburton’s second consecutive year pulling on the big ‘V’ and she is looking forward to playing against some of the girls she played with in the AFLW Academy.
“I can’t wait (for Nationals), it’ll be good,” she said. “I think having good people around you makes it all better. “I’ve played Academy so I’ll tell them I’ll look out for you at Nationals!”