Kara Antonio steps down as Fremantle Dockers AFLW captain after five seasons

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Mitchell WoodcockThe West Australian
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Kara Antonio has stepped down as captain of Fremantle’s AFLW side after being in the role for all five seasons.
Camera IconKara Antonio has stepped down as captain of Fremantle’s AFLW side after being in the role for all five seasons. Credit: Dylan Burns/AFL Photos

Kara Antonio won’t captain Fremantle for the first time in the club’s AFLW history after deciding to step down after five seasons in the position.

Antonio, who has played 37 of a possible 39 games, told the players on Monday that she was stepping down as skipper after holding the role since 2017.

“It’s a tough decision, but one that I can reflect on and be proud of everything that has been achieved over the past five years,” Antonio told the club’s website.

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“I’m just really proud of where we’ve been able to take the group and I’m excited to focus on my game this coming season with a different role up forward.

“I can now take a bit of a backseat and focus on myself a little bit, I’ve put a lot of time and energy into the wider group and that’s been my role and I’ve absolutely loved it, but it’s time to let the next generation step up and take us forward.”

Dockers coach Trent Cooper paid tribute to the 29-year-old, saying she was the “face and voice of Fremantle’s AFLW team”.

Kara Antonio has been resilient, playing 37 of a possible 39 games for Fremantle in five seasons.
Camera IconKara Antonio has been resilient, playing 37 of a possible 39 games for Fremantle in five seasons. Credit: Quinn Rooney/via AFL Photos

“She has always led with great strength and by example, never asking anything of anyone that she wasn’t already doing herself,” he said.

“Kara has been the main driver of culture at the club in those five years and has put us in a really good place in that regard.

“For her to come to this decision speaks volumes of her leadership, which we all know will continue even though she won’t have a ‘C’ next to her name.

“It’s important that for whoever does step into the role, that they have someone like Kara still around to help guide them through.”

AFLW best and fairest winner Kiara Bowers, Antonio’s wife Ebony, midfielder Hayley Miller and forward Gabby O’Sullivan were all in the leadership group last season and are front runners in contention to replace Antonio.

The Dockers will announce its leadership group in the near future, with the season set to start on January 6.

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