Fremantle’s AFLW coaching group has been finalised for the upcoming 2024 season, with four new coaches set to join the group, supporting Senior Coach Lisa Webb.

Joining the line-up for 2024, Fremantle will have new line coaches in Kara Antonio (backline), Mark Tilbury (midfield), and Matt Connell (forwards) as well as Zac Langdon, taking care of skills and football fundamentals.

Returning for 2024, Cam Shepherd will continue as the Director of Coaching, along with Development Coach Lauren Stammers, Opposition Analyst Craig Thomas, and Specialist Coach Josh Corbett.

Head of AFLW Claire Heffernan said the group are proud to welcome the new additions to the coaching line-up.

“We are absolutely thrilled with the calibre and quality of the people we have appointed to the FFC AFLW Coaching panel and feel that we now have the best possible team to guide and develop our players for the 2024 Season and beyond,” Heffernan said.

Senior Coach Lisa Webb said it’s an exciting time for the Club, with the new coaches offering the best opportunity for Fremantle’s AFLW players to improve and develop moving forward.

“The group have vast coaching experience with strong skill sets, and importantly, are passionate about building strong relationships and driving high standards among our playing group,” Webb said.

Kara Antonio, Backline Coach
Antonio was the inaugural Captain of the Club’s AFLW side and led the squad for five years before retiring after Season 7 in 2022. The former Captain had many achievements as a player including her All-Australian selection (2017), and leading Club goal-kicker (2017).

“I’m feeling stoked to be back and I’m really excited to take the backline,” Antonio said.

“One of my best mates in Lisa Webb, and I love the girls, love the footy Club and I’m really looking forward to hitting the ground running.

“I think I’ve got a lot to offer, but still have a lot to learn as well, so I’m looking forward to that learning opportunity from Lisa and the rest of the coaches.”

Antonio touched on her recent coaching experience at Subiaco that she hopes will hold her in good stead to coach the backline in 2024.

“I have coached down at Subiaco in the WAFL last season as the forwards coach under Beau Waterman, learned so much and had an absolute ball,” Antonio said.

“It was a year of growth and learnings that I’ll take with me into this new role.

“I know how proud this group and this Club is, they want success and that’s what I want as well, hence why I’m back and hopefully I can contribute to that.”

Mark Tilbury, Midfield Coach
Joining Fremantle as the Midfield Coach, Tilbury comes from a teaching background running an array of school-based football programs, as well as spending 14 years in a variety of Assistant Coach roles for Peel Thunder Football Club, both from a development level, through to league.

“I’m really excited to be onboard; I think it will be a really refreshing change for me personally with coaching, but also to help and develop a group of young women who look so enthusiastic and have a real zest for learning,” Tilbury said.

“I’m a teacher by trade and being able to use my background towards coaching works very much hand in glove.

“I’ve always felt really comfortable with the relationship between Peel Thunder and Fremantle and now I’m super excited to be onboard with Fremantle wholly."

Matt Connell, Forwards Coach
Connell spent nine years in the AFL, between Adelaide Crows and the West Coast Eagles, winning two premierships as well as a Best & Fairest award with Adelaide during a successful era for the Club.

Post retirement, Connell lived in the UK for four years and coached the Great Britain Lions in the International Cup as well as taking his teaching career full-time as Head of Sport at Newman College for nine years.

“I’m looking forward to it and really excited to be a part of it,” Connell said.

“I’m thrilled to be working with Lisa Webb and the other fantastic new coaches. There’s a lot of freshness at the moment and so I’m very keen to get stuck in.

“A few lessons I took with me from my time in the AFL were to take your opportunities.

“Getting onto a senior list is only the first step and there’s a lot of work that comes on top of that. You have to put your name forward, work hard, ask your coaches questions and learn from your teammates as well.”

Zac Langdon, Skill Specialist and Football Fundamentals
Langdon joins Fremantle with a wealth of knowledge, as a former AFL athlete. Langdon made 56 AFL appearances across the GWS Giants and the West Coast Eagles, as well as playing for West Perth in the WAFL last year as well.

“I’m really excited to be onboard. It’s a really exciting opportunity for myself and I’m keen to take my learnings from my career and my time in coaching and translate that to the girls,” Langdon said.

“I spent a bit of time in the AFL with the Giants and was fortunate enough to play three years with them and then found myself back in WA with West Coast.

“For me, the time was right to really pursue my coaching and development, and landed myself at Freo, which I’m really excited about.

“My role will be within the development and the footy fundamentals space, so just being able to provide that support for the girls on and off the field and develop their skills will be a huge focus.”