Fremantle will head into Season 7 of the NAB AFL Women’s Competition with a new coaching group that has significant experience playing and coaching at AFLW and WAFLW level.

Working under Senior Coach Trent Cooper and Coaching Director Cam Shepherd, Fremantle will have Kara Antonio, Matt Templeton and Matt Riggio as their line coaches, Alex Williams and Lauren Stammers as the development coaches and Jon Griffin as the ruck coach.

Craig Thomas also returns as the Senior Assistant and Training Co-ordinator.

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Antonio will coach the forwards, Templeton the midfield and Riggio the backline, while from a development standpoint Williams will work with the backline and Stammers the forwardline.

Cooper has been pleased with how well the group has worked together in this pre-season.

“With a short turnaround after last season, it’s great we’ve been able to attract the individuals we have,” Cooper said. 

“They’re going to be very good for the playing group and for myself going forward.

“I’ve been really impressed with the dynamic of the group and how we’re working together already."

- AFLW Senior Coach Trent Cooper

“We’ll continue to learn together over the early part of the season and have put together what we’re confident is a really good product for our players so they can continue to evolve.”

Kara Antonio

A decorated player with Fremantle with five years as captain, Antonio’s role as line coach is on top of her playing requirements, which unfortunately will have limited crossover in the regular season after she underwent surgery recently due to a hamstring injury.

“We were very keen to get Kara involved in coaching and she was appointed as the forward line coach at the beginning of the pre-season,” Cooper said. 

“It’s unfortunate that she’ll miss a significant part of the season but she’s really keen to throw herself into the coaching side.

“With her energy, knowledge of the game and her attention to detail, she’s going to transform our forwardline and it’s going to be a great benefit to our whole team.”

Both Templeton and Riggio have coached lines in WA’s women’s team at the State 18s level. Templeton joins Fremantle after coaching East Fremantle to the 2022 WAFLW Grand Final after an unbeaten regular season, while Riggio – a former North Melbourne and Swan Districts player – coached the Swan Districts WAFLW midfield when they made the grand final in 2021.

Matt Templeton

“Matt Templeton’s got a long history in coaching, he’s been an assistant coach in the State 18s and this year he took over East Fremantle, who had missed finals in 2021 and went through the regular season undefeated,” Cooper said.

“He did a great job at the Sharks this year and the feedback we got from the players was very positive. He’s had a big impact on our midfield group already and we’re looking forward to him adding another dimension to our midfield.

Matt Riggio

“Riggs played 10 games for North Melbourne and then had a distinguished career with Swan Districts including the 2010 premiership while playing more than 200 games of WAFL football.

“In the past two years he’s been plying his trade in female football as a coach. He coached the midfield at Swan Districts two years ago and this year worked with the backline at the State 18s level . He also worked with our AFLW program at times last pre-season. 

“The playing group is thrilled to have him on board, he’s great with his relationships and he’s helping an already tight back group to develop even further.”

Williams returns to Fremantle where she played 13 games between 2018 and 2019 on top of her seven games for GWS in 2017.

While Stammers’ career did not crossover with the AFLW, she was one of the game’s pioneers in the exhibition matches between Melbourne and the Western Bulldogs.

She is a three-time premiership player with Coastal Titans in the WAWFL, including twice as captain, and she was drafted at no.11 to Melbourne in 2014, ahead of the likes of Hayley Miller, Tayla Harris and Emily Bates.

Lauren Stammers

“We’ve added on two development coaches in Alex Williams and Lauren Stammers who were very good players in their own right,” Cooper said. 

“Alex obviously played at Fremantle and cut her teeth coaching with the East Fremantle Rogers Cup side, winning a premiership this year.

“Lauren Stammers who retired from her football career due to injury has done a lot of coaching with the State 18s and Subiaco over the past few years and we’re really pleased to have her on board.”

Alex Williams

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Cooper is pleased to have the support of Shepherd, a two-time WAFL premiership coach with Peel, as well as having Thomas and Griffin return in their roles.

“Having Cam as our coaching director is especially important with a new coaching group. He is helping facilitate their learning and making sure we all gel together in what is a really short pre-season window,” Cooper said.

“Craig has been a part of our coaching group since year one and he’s evolved into his role really well as our Senior Assistant. He was a vital part of our improvement last year with his training design and he’ll continue with that role.

“It’s also great to have Jon Griffin back on board to work closely with our young rucks to further their development in season 7.”

Jon Griffin with ruck Mim Strom