WHEN Troy Moloney roamed the Whitten Oval in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s for Footscray, a professional competition for women seemed a distant world away. Decades later the AFLW is selling out stadiums; and his daughter, Abbi, might just be its next star.
Abbi Moloney’s football journey commenced at the East Malvern Knights at the age of 10, a moment she recalls vividly.
“I was sitting in mum’s office and dad came in with a flyer for the East Malvern Knights saying they were making a girls team,” she says.
“Dad said he had been asked to coach, so all my friends joined and from that moment it became a big part of my life.”
Troy’s tutelage is something that has not been lost on Moloney, who credits her dad as a significant influence and pivotal in her development as a footballer.
After securing what Moloney describes as “a few dubs” (wins) at the Knights under the watchful eye of Troy, she would progress to also play for Mentone Grammar and eventually land herself at the Sandringham Dragons in 2019.
Perhaps her own harshest critic, Moloney jokes about her first experience at the Dragons.
“My first games weren’t very good, I didn’t execute as well as I thought I could have,” she says.
“I was still finding my position that I wanted to play. Whether it was the midfield, centre half-back or centre half-forward.”
Whilst her magnet was thrown around as a utility in her early days at the Dragons, it is now glued to the board at CHF.
True to the role of a traditional CHF, Moloney’s game can be characterised by a vice-like grip on the Sherrin and an intimidating physical presence. But the ferocious competitor is a double threat, thriving both in the air and when the ball is in dispute, not shy of hunting some contact in the form of forward pressure.
Prior to the postponement of the league, the talent was brewing a rampage. Despite going goalless in Round 1, Moloney would proceed to kick 3.3 in Round 2, before a bag of 5.2 in Round 3 had the league talking.
But Moloney’s presence on the field is arguably matched off it, with the outgoing personality the first to admit to her antics.
“I definitely bring a bit of energy,” she laughs.
“I love all the girls and I can be myself around everyone, which also helps with my confidence on the field.”
The driver off this culture is Tam Hyett, who Moloney adores.
“Tam is one of the best coaches there is. She just takes you under her wing and treats you like a daughter almost,” she explains.
“You just want to put as much effort into her as she is putting into you, because you don’t want to let her down.”
With the league pencilled in to recommence on September 5, the competition’s second leading goal scorer is eager to continue her hot form.
“Obviously if I could keep kicking goals it would be pretty handy,” she says.
“At the end of the day I just want to do the best that I can and enjoy getting out there with the girls again.”
The absence of football has left a void in the life of Moloney, who concedes that besides from school and seeing her friends, “life revolves around footy.” Whilst she may have had more time for her school and friends lately, she will be counting down the days until she gets to lace the boots up again.