The honour of captaining Fremantle is not lost on Kara Antonio, who has been named Fremantle’s captain for a fifth season in 2021.
The midfielder heads a five-player leadership group that is unchanged from Fremantle’s unbeaten 2020 season in Kiara Bowers, Ebony Antonio, Gabby O’Sullivan and Hayley Miller.
While Freo legend Matthew Pavlich is the club’s longest serving captain at nine seasons, Antonio’s fifth season of captaincy will bring her alongside Peter Bell, who captained Fremantle between 2002 and 2006.
Antonio was first named captain in 2017, the same year as Nat Fyfe, who is also likely to captain Fremantle for a fifth year.
Antonio said that she saw the role as a privilege she didn’t take for granted.
“It’s obviously a massive honour and speaking to the group when it was announced, it felt like I’ve got the best job in the world ,being able to captain such an amazing group of people,” Antonio told The West Australian.
“I’m really proud to captain such a proud WA club and such an incredible group of girls. I’m stoked to go around again for a fifth year and I’m ready to get stuck into the fun stuff when the season starts.”
Antonio said the playing group had put the disappointing end to the 2020 season behind them when it was cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic as Freo were preparing to play Melbourne in a preliminary final.
Instead of being fuelled by disappointment, Antonio said Fremantle’s desire was to build on what they produced in 2020.
“We’re really keen to start strong, build on that momentum and have a really strong pre-season as a group,” Antonio said.
“We’ve got to improve as every other team is going to improve. (How the season ended) has been spoken about briefly, more so straight after the season. As soon as we’ve walked through the doors this pre-season, it’s been focusing on what’s ahead of us.”
At 28, Antonio is one of Fremantle’s most senior players on a list that is the fourth-youngest in the AFLW.
She said her aim as a leader wasn’t just to find success in the near term, but to set the club up for seasons to come.
“Everyone always says that success breeds good culture but I think good people breed good culture and that’s what we’ve got down at Freo, I’m really proud to be a part of it,” Antonio said.
“It’s only going to grow. The girls that have been here since day one will eventually move along but it’s really nice to have a really good core group of young female athletes coming through.
“They’re good people that will be able to grab that legacy, take it and mould it in their own way.
“We’re a really proud group, a really proud club down at Fremantle and we’re really excited to see where we can take the competition in 2021.”