AGILE and tough, Monique Conti has combined her best attributes to be the best player she can be on the field or court.
The Melbourne Boomers basketballer has been enjoying a sensational start to her TAC Cup Girls season with the Calder Cannons, primarily playing through the midfield before drifting forward to also provide a target inside 50. The 17 year-old is eligible to be drafted by an AFLW club at the end of the season, but for now, the top-age star is just focusing on the immediate future. “I’m not really sure what I want to do just yet,” Conti said. “I’m still thinking about it. “Hopefully I can play AFLW and continue with my WNBL, it just depends when the seasons start and finish.”
To this point, Conti has juggled her commitments well since signing with the Boomers last year – a prominent year for the teenager after making the All-Australian team following the girls’ youth championships. “Football has been really flexible for me and understanding of my basketball commitments,” she said. Conti said she uses her agility from her basketball background and toughness from her football to cross-over into the other sport.
With teammate Chloe Molloy also playing national level basketball, the pair has bounced ideas and thoughts off each other. “It’s good to have another basketballer in the program, we understand each other,” she said. “I guess it also helps out on the footy field because basketball does complement your footy and vice versa so it’s pretty good.”
Conti said it was an “exciting” time for women’s football. “We do really well as a team, hopefully we can keep that up,” she said. “It’s pretty exciting being the first TAC Cup competition for the girls, so it’s good to come into it with a good start and hopefully we can continue it throughout the season.
Initially Conti joined to follow in her siblings’ steps, but has well and truly carved out a career of her own. “I started as a junior… because my brother played it,” she said. “I really enjoyed it and played with the boys then started up with Melbourne Uni in the under 18 girls. “I won a couple of premierships there and then started with Calder when (the program) started.”
Her ability to burst away from an opponent and side step them with ease is one of her most noticeable traits. “It’s good to start off in the midfield, run and carry, that sort of stuff,” Conti said. “It’s good to hop down forward for a rest every now and again and hopefully kick a few goals.”
Calder has already won its three TAC Cup Girls games so far and with just two more remaining, Conti is hoping the club can continue its good form. She said the competition enabled players to learn more than they had before and execute a game plan. “I think it’s just more focusing on our games and coming up with wins against the other teams, whereas in the past, it was mostly developing skills,” Conti said. “Now we’re using all the skills we’ve developed and putting it into play.”
Calder faces Oakleigh Chargers and Bendigo Pioneers in the final two rounds of the TAC Cup Girls.