“I want to potentially represent my country [for the Opals] at the Olympics one day. Who knows when that’s going to happen. It could be my late 20s, it could be in the next few years, it just really depends.
“And the AFLW could become a longer season and a full-time thing so I just have to see where the next couple of years go and see what path I want to take.”
Conti is yet to play for the Opals and doesn’t expect to be on the plane to Tokyo in mid-2020, with Paris in 2024 a more realistic goal. She has played for Australian junior teams though, winning gold at the 2017 under-17 world championships.
While Conti has no problems or regrets from her time at the Bulldogs, she said Richmond’s pitch about helping her be “a complete athlete” was the key to her move.
“The professionalism here is on a whole other level to any other club,” she said.
“They said they want me to be the best athlete I can. They don’t want me to be the best footballer I can, they want me to be the best athlete I can. So that’s the best basketballer and footballer and it’s just amazing to know there are people behind me like that supporting both my sports and not just one.”
Conti is clearly one of the best players in the AFLW, if not the best. Her ability to pair speed with clean ball use and smart decision making is a rarity.
She was a 2018 AFLW premiership player at the Bulldogs, best on ground in that game, a 2019 All-Australian, the Bulldogs’ 2019 AFLW best-and-fairest winner and Richmond’s 2019 VFLW best and fairest.
WNBL is a different challenge to AFLW, where Conti plays second fiddle to Melbourne Boomers WNBA point guard Lindsay Allen.
“We have such a high calibre team and I am playing behind Lindsay, she’s amazing and I do learn a whole lot off her,” Conti said.
“You are playing with some of the best athletes in the country and you know where your place is, and it shows I have a long way to go. I still come to training every day and know that I need to work harder.
“With AFLW it’s so new and I am a part of the group of girls that have been the start of it. Whereas WNBL has been around for years and there’s been girls playing for years at that level so there’s more experience I need to catch up on and I need to learn the game a lot more and everything like that.
“With AFLW you can learn along the way. Coaches are even learning along with way with AFLW.”
Anthony is a sports reporter at The Age.