Monique Conti - AFLW - AthletesVoice
Monique Conti - AFLW - AthletesVoice


‘Dear trolls, get with the program!’

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‘Dear trolls, get with the program!’


Fifteen years from now, I want to be remembered as a dual-sport athlete.


There are a lot of girls in the AFLW who used to play basketball, soccer or netball, but I don’t think there are many that have tried to do both at the same time. Eventually, most of them drop their initial sport.


From afar, I can see how people might think I have done the same with the Melbourne Boomers this season. But for me, it’s different.


There was a two-week break in the WNBL season, and I wanted to play round one of the AFLW during that time. I was put into a position where I had to decide between the two sports and that’s what I did.


I grew up thinking ‘basketball first’, so sitting out the WNBL playoffs was tough. If it was up to me, and that simple, I would still be doing both, and balancing both sports right now.


I could see myself playing a huge role at Richmond in our debut season, whereas I felt that my role could be filled at the Boomers.



In the future, I honestly believe I can juggle careers in both basketball and footy.


Erin Phillips is my idol in that way. I see her as a mentor, as someone who played both basketball at the highest level and footy in the AFLW. I talk to her whenever I can, for advice.


In basketball, I’ve played in a WNBL grand final series with the Boomers, but there’s so much more I want to achieve in that sport. I still see myself as a basketballer and I have dreams of playing for the Opals one day. I would love to represent Australia at an Olympics.


Footy-wise, I’ve experienced ultimate success in the AFLW, with the 2018 Western Bulldogs premiership-winning team. Now, I’d love to win one at Richmond.




The move I didn’t see coming

The decision to join Richmond was tough because I loved the Western Bulldogs, and my time there. It was a great club to be a part of.


Before I first spoke to the Tigers, I didn’t see myself coming out of a meeting and wanting to move. I just wanted to see what they had to say.


The Tigers didn’t try to sell me anything, they just told me about their program and how I’d fit into their plans – not just as a footballer, but as a long-term athlete. I liked what they had to say.


I decided to make the move and I’m loving life here so far. Finding success on the park is going to take some time, but eventually we’ll get there because we have so much talent in the squad.


Taking the step up to such a professional competition like the AFLW, it was hard to know how the team would go. It’s going to be a process and every week we are showing improvement.


I want to be a part of building the Tigers into a successful AFLW team. It might take a little time, but we’re optimistic.


As a young footballer I look up to the game’s pioneers, like Erin and Daisy Pearce, for inspiration. Being able to compete with them in the AFLW is such an honour, because they paved the way for young athletes like myself. Soon it will be up to my generation to push the game even further and I want to be someone that shows young girls they can excel in multiple sports.




‘I mean, get with the program!’

We get a lot more attention in the AFLW than we do in the WNBL. There’s always something new – a new headline and news story every day.


There are also people out there who aren’t fans of women playing footy. There are people that don’t agree with AFLW at all. Trolls that sit behind computers or on their phone, writing negative comments. And they aren’t going anywhere.


It’s kind of funny, in a way. To think that it’s 2020 and there are people that still think women shouldn’t be playing football; I mean, get with the program!


We are playing footy and we are semi-professional in that area. It’s a real thing, we’re women playing AFL.


In 10 years, I think the structure of the league will be mirrored to the men’s competition. We’ll be playing a lot more games and not just through the summer. The future is bright.





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