Fremantle’s AFLW captain Kara Antonio has heaped praise on her teammates for digging deep in a final quarter tug-of-war against Collingwood at Fremantle Oval on Saturday.
Running out three-point winners, Fremantle’s young brigade stood up in the final quarter to help Freo hold on in a thrilling finish.
Antonio joined senior coach Trent Cooper in praising the efforts of 18-year-old ruck Mim Strom, who rucked for the majority of the day.
The skipper said she had a better vantage point than anyone while watching her young teammate go to work.
“Mim is such a young kid, and for an 18-year-old to be able to just walk on in and play in the AFLW is outstanding.
“I think she’s getting better as each game comes and it was great for her to stand up in that second half against a taller ruck.
“Mim is great on the ground and gave us lots in terms of ground balls and giving first hands to our mids.
“She plugged away all day and it really was such a great game from such a young kid.”
Antonio labelled defender Laura Pugh as her standout player for the match.
Pugh was crucial to Fremantle’s defensive line, with her rebound 50’s a strong feature of her game.
“That was probably the best game I’ve seen her play in the purple,” Antonio said.
“She stood up in her one-on-ones, was good on the ground and her rebound 50’s were excellent.
“It was an excellent game from ‘Pughy’ and I’m really proud of her efforts today.”
Antonio said relief on the final siren was high after Collingwood brought pressure right until the end.
“I’m relieved! It was a tough contest and Collingwood took it up to us,” Antonio said.
“They were much better than us in that first half, but I thought we were much better in that third quarter.
“It was a nail biter to the fourth term, but we grinded it out so I’m happy with the four points.”