Millie made history late last year when she followed in the football boots of her father and former Geelong Cats superstar, Paul Brown, becoming one of the first to be drafted in to the AFLW under the father-daughter rule.
We chat to the defender and Sherrin ambassador about the biggest learnings from her debut season and the best advice her dad has given her.
Were you always interested in AFL growing up?
For as long as I can remember, I have been into AFL. It started as something that myself and my mates did at primary school every single recess and lunch. At recess, we would pick two captains and they would take turns picking teams for the day that would continue onto lunchtime. This happened every school day of each year, up until I finished grade 6. Then on the weekends I would play local Auskick on Saturdays and junior footy for the Mooroopna cats, with many kick to kicks in between with my Dad and little brother Tom. I was also heavily into basketball but footy was always there.
When did you realise you had a chance at playing professionally?
I started Auskick in grade 1, but it wasn’t until maybe my second last year at the Murray Bushrangers in the TAC competition that I thought I might have a chance at playing AFLW, which for most of my journey wasn’t even in existence.
How has your dad shaped how you play?
Dad, my brother Tom and I would constantly walk down to the local ovals for a kick of the footy or attend the local Mooroopna seniors games on the weekends. We also went to heaps of AFL games together as a whole family, so ultimately dad gave me the first exposure to the game. He has taught me all my basic skill assets as well as some tips and tricks here and there when I go to him.
What’s been his best advice?
The best advice that dad has given to me would be not to compare myself to others. I used to, and still do, get in the habit of comparing myself to my teammates, especially my close mates and some of the best players in the team. Dad explained to me that none of them have the same body composition as me, or the same skill set, or even the fact that they don’t play a similar position to me at all. He narrowed my focus to comparing my game to my previous game, or even compartmentalise this further into a quarter by quarter or moment by moment analysis. This helped me to shift my focus to my own game and not get disappointed in myself for no reason.
How have you found your debut AFLW season? Are there particular players in your team that have helped you settle in?
Coming into the Cats team as a first-year player, I have been super appreciative of the game opportunities that the club and coaching staff have given me on my journey thus far when my initial goal was just to get a game. The staff are exceptional in each of their roles and the girls are equally as supportive. In particular, some of my close mates like Nina, Liv and Becky have helped me settle in having been in the same position as me just last season, showing me the ropes in my first few weeks. As I have become more comfortable though, some of the older players like Phoebe McWilliams and MegMac have been fantastic in on and off field support, especially then I begin to get in my own head some games. But all the girls are extremely inclusive and perceptive, and I couldn’t be happier with the bunch of girls here at the Cats.
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