K rock Football

Hard work in front of Brown

Millie Brown in action at AFL Academy training in Canberra. (AFL Media Image/Brook Mitchell)

HIGHLY-rated AFL Women’s draft prospect Millie Brown knows a career at the game’s highest level is no guarantee despite the advantage of being eligible to join Geelong as a father-daughter selection.

Brown’s dad Paul played 84 games, including the 1995 grand final loss to Carlton, and kicked 66 goals in the Hoops, and the Cats have been following her progress closely.

“I see it as a privilege; I’m quite lucky to be father-daughter,” the 17-year-old told krockfootball.com.au while attending the AFL Academy camp in Canberra this week.

“But I’m also thinking: ‘I have to work as hard as everyone else. There’s no easy entry for me’.

“But I’m quite honoured I have that pathway as an option.

“I’m keeping my options open, but that is something I have thought about.”

Growing up in the Goulburn Valley town of Mooroopna, Brown has been involved with football since Grade 1.

She played with the boys until under-14 level and has since been a key player with the Murray Bushrangers in the first two seasons of the TAC Cup.

Her performances with the Bushrangers and for Vic Country at this year’s under-18 National Championships resulted in selection in the AFL Academy and a chance to train with the Cats.

“It was so awesome. It was another level up in terms of professionalism,” Brown said.

“The girls were really good getting around us and really helping out our young girls.

“They seem to be jelling well as a team, so that was really good to see, considering they’re such a new club.”

Despite dad being a more than capable AFL player, Brown says he doesn’t get too involved with her development.

“He’s not die-hard into my footy. He’s there for me if I approach him and need some help, and he’s really good for a few pointers here and there,” Brown said.

“But he’s not one of those full-on parents. He respects my decisions and what I want to do.

“He’s really good in that way.”

Brown, who is in Year 12 in 2019, will train again with Geelong in January before turning her attention to the TAC Cup season.

Cats coach Paul Hood says it’s been a bonus to have her join the program for three sessions earlier this month.

“But, like any player that’s father-daughter or father-son, they’ve just got to and concentrate on having their last season in TAC Cup, playing in the National Championships if they get selected, and finishing school,” he said.

“Millie knows we’re here to help her if she needs any support at all.

“But, we’re not putting any undue pressure on here. We’ll just let her have her last year of junior footy and enjoy it and develop.

“We’re there if she needs us.”

Hood says Brown is likely to be afforded the opportunity to play at VFL level with Geelong once the TAC Cup season is completed.

“No doubt that’s something we can consider later in the year,” he said.

“It’s a long way away, and with the TAC Cup season starting pretty early, there’s a lot of water to go under the bridge yet.

“If there’s an opportunity to play Millie in a few senior games before the draft – it worked well for the youngsters last year, so it’ll be something we certainly entertain.”

Twitter: @tom_king79