Sydney Swans co-captain Chloe Molloy, midfielder Laura Gardiner and ruck Ally Morphett have tonight been named in the 2023 AFLW All-Australian team at the AFLW Awards in Melbourne.
It’s the first time any Sydney Swans AFLW player has been named in the team, which is made up of the best-performed players during the season.
Co-captain Molloy's selection capped off a memorable evening with the midfielder also finishing equal second in the AFLW Best and Fairest. Molloy, Geelong's Amy McDonald, North Melbourne's Ash Riddell and Gold Coast's Claudia Whitfortwith all polled 16 votes behind winner, Richmond's Mon Conti who won the prestigious award with 23 votes.
With 55 career games under her belt, Molloy is one of the leagues more experienced players, and it showed on-field as she helped guide the red and white to their first ever finals campaign.
The 24-year-old finished the year on top of the league for metres-gained by a forward, ranked third in score involvements, and kicked 14 goals. The star forward averaged four inside-50s and 17 disposals per game.
Molloy credited her move to the red and white as key to her dominant performance this year.
"This award is a reflection of how happy I am to be at this club, surrounded by different people who bring out different parts of my game," said Molloy.
"I've been given an opportunity to play a bigger role within this team and club, and in doing that I've been able to excel and find different layers to my game. I think a lot of it comes from the faith that the club showed in me. When you're a happy person, you're a happy footballer."
Molloy is the only previous All-Australian, having been selected in the 2018 and 2021 team.
Local talent, Morphett also had a big night, finishing runner-up in the Rising Star Award, just one vote shy of GWS player Zali Goldsworthy despite the Swan missing the final three games of the season.
Morphett emerged as one of the league’s best rucks in 2023, dominating from Round 1 where she earned her first Rising Star nomination in the Swans inaugural victory over the Giants.
The 19-year-old worked tirelessly to improve her fitness and craft ahead of the 2023 season, and was rewarded for her effort, leading the league in average hit-outs and hard ball gets. She also averaged 17.9 disposals and 29.3 hit-outs per game before a hand injury ended her season prematurely.
"This award (All-Australian selection) means so much to me. I worked really hard to take my game to another level this year, and I feel like I did that," said Morphett.
"I wouldn't have been able to be the player I am without my team mates and the club support. To be a part of the All Australian team is surreal, it's an honour."
After making the move from Geelong, Gardiner enjoyed an emphatic first year with the Sydney Swans, featuring in all 12 games and proving to be influential in the team’s seven victories.
The 20-year-old midfielder finished second in the AFL Coaches Association AFLW Champion Player of the Year, just 11 votes short of the title. She also finished second in the league for disposals and tackles, averaging 29.1 and 9.1 respectively. She also kicked two goals for the red and white.
Gardiner thanked the club for showing their faith and giving her the opportunity to play her game.
"This means a lot. The club had faith in me, they gave me an opportunity and I really wanted to make the most of it," said Gardiner.
"It's also credit to the people you train with, the players, staff, everyone around the club who helps you become successful. I think enjoying your footy is so important, and I really am enjoying it."
- Kicked 14 goals
- Averaged two goals, 17 disposals, four inside-50s, and eight contested possessions per game.
- Kicked three goals in three games this season
- Molloy’s strongest performance came in the Swans Round 8 victory over the Western Bulldogs, finishing with three goals, 11 marks and 28 disposals.
- Averaging 29 hit outs, 18 disposals five clearances per game
- Earned a Rising Star nomination in the Swans round one victory over the Giants. Morphett had 29 hit-outs, 18 disposals, seven clearances, 16 contested possessions, six inside-50s, 407 metres-gained, and one goal in the club’s first ever win.
- Averaging 30 disposals, 15 kicks, nine tackles, six clearances and 15 hand balls per game.
- Finished second in the AFL Coaches Association AFLW Champion player of the Year 2023
- Her strongest performance of the season came in Round 3 when she finished with 41 disposals, 22 kicks, nine tackles and 19 handballs.