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Antonio drawing on experience

Rory Coleman-Heard  March 8, 2017 6:35 PM

Ebony Antonio is drawing on her five years of professional sporting experience.

Ebony Antonio is drawing on her five years of professional sporting experience.

With five years of professional sport under her belt, Fremantle utility Ebony Antonio recognises the role she needs to play in driving professional standards at the club.

The former basketballer played 40 games in the WNBL, winning a premiership with the Bendigo Spirit before returning home to represent the West Coast Waves (now the Perth Lynx).

The 25-year-old was signed by Fremantle as a priority selection after dominating for Swan Districts in the WAWFL, and has impressed in four matches to date.

Speaking ahead of Friday's clash with Carlton – Freo's final home fixture of the 2017 NAB AFL Women's competition – Antonio reflected on her transition to football.

"Obviously playing basketball helps as I've had that professional background," Antonio said.

"I hope I've rubbed off on a few of the girls so they've had to lift and work harder as well."

Antonio was quick to make AFLW history when a high front-on bump on Western Bulldogs player Jess Gardner in round one drew a one-game suspension from the Match Review Panel.

She noted the physical intensity of the AFLW competition as a major point of difference compared to basketball.

"Obviously in football you're allowed to tackle and bump … I played footy as a girl so I knew what to expect," Antonio said.

"I love the physicality and I'm glad to be back in that kind of contest."

Despite several strong starts, Fremantle remains the only side yet to register a win, with only a draw to show in five matches.

But Antonio backed her teammates to rebound from Saturday's agonising one-point loss to Collingwood, stating that morale had remained high.

"Obviously it hasn't been the perfect start but the group of girls we have here is amazing," Antonio said.

"[Coach] Michelle [Cowan] is also great – her mentorship and leadership skills on and off the field are amazing.

"We're really trying to focus on what we're doing and get to those last little points so we can get a win."