It was hard to wipe the smile off Kara Antonio’s face when asked about the standout moments from her five years as Fremantle’s AFLW captain.
Antonio broke the news to her teammates on Monday evening that she would not seek a sixth season as skipper, instead wishing to help guide Fremantle’s next young leaders and focus on her own football in 2022.
The 29-year-old went straight to the first ever time she led Freo onto the field to take on the Western Bulldogs back in round one of 2017, the Club’s opening chapter in the AFLW.
Despite a 32-point defeat to the Dogs, Antonio said it was a moment she wouldn’t soon forget.
“I don’t think you can go past our first ever game out at Whitten Oval, that still gives me goosebumps even though we got flogged!” Antonio said.
“And then you have the first Optus Stadium game we played against Collingwood…it was another one where we packed it out and got the win.
“Our first ever win against Carlton at Domain Stadium was a pretty special moment as well, and nothing really compares to those RAC Derby wins as captain and being able to lift up the RAC Derby cup to the Freo faithful.”
Aside from the moments on the field, Antonio said it was the small off-field opportunities that served as special reminders to why the captaincy role meant so much.
“It’s also the little moments for me, being able to hand over Mikayla Hyde’s playing jumper last season was special to me and being her previous captain and coach at WAFLW level and then to hand over her first AFLW jumper was amazing,” Antonio said.
“You obviously reflect and get really proud of the wins you have and the big moments you have on field, but I think it’s more the little off field things that will stick with me forever.
“Having that opportunity with Mikayla is something she will remember for the rest of her life, and so will I.”