A host of Animals stars across all three grades are set to return this weekend as the final throws of the VAFA season arrive.

In the seniors, the Animals midfield sees the return of the 'Dream Four' with Harry Davis welcoming back his regular mates in Jonathan Greensides, Nathan Bird, and Paul Baranello. The return of Greensides sees and Englishman replace our departing Irishman in Matthew Hooks. Hooksy has sadly returned back home and we thank him for everything he has done for the Animals in 2018.

 Reserves Vice-Captain Tom Coleman will be making his 2018 Senior Debut

Reserves Vice-Captain Tom Coleman will be making his 2018 Senior Debut

Outside the middle four, Kieran Mair is joined by running partner Matt Hill who returns after two weeks down the Apple Isle. Hill's inclusion sees Josh Webb move into a back pocket to partner Joden Crothers and Darcy "Screech" Bourke. Tom Clarke retains his spot in the side with Max Catchpool and Baxter Newbegin across half back.

Up front, Nick Glanville is rewarded for his outstanding Reserves form with a spot across Half Forward, with the returning Reece Luehman taking up CHF and Mick Davis moving out of the middle and up forward.

Further up, Lachlan Gunn will look to make Full Forward his with Dan Hill and Ray Kuhnell crumbing around him.

The bench is where you get your first feel good story, with Tom Coleman making his senior debut in 2018. After an interrupted pre-season and start to the 2018 season, his tireless efforts in the Reserves have been rewarded with a ruck rotation role. The sealer was his fantastic solo goal against Whitefriars FC before the Rep Round which will rival Eddie Betts in goal of the year contention.

 Senior Vice-Captain Jon Kapiniaris makes his 2018 debut after long injury lay off

Senior Vice-Captain Jon Kapiniaris makes his 2018 debut after long injury lay off

Joining Coleman on the bench is a fellow senior debutant in Lewis Hotchin, whilst Steve Downie and Lawrence Virgo will provide the other rotations in what will be one of the strongest Animals Senior sides in a long time.

The Reserves will benefit from the returns as well, with the stand out story being club leader Jon Kapiniaris making his long awaited and well anticipated return to football. A season filled with frustration and rehab will finally reach its crescendo when runs out across half back in a Reserves team fresh of a sterling display against a much vaunted Whitefriars FC team last out, a team which required last second fill ups put in a more than respect worthy performance.

Shamus Nash, Tom Buick, Alex Lawson, Tom Wales, and Jye Douthat will all bring some senior experience back into Paul McGloin's side which will see the coach not have to pull the boots on himself for the first time in two games.

The women also have a major in, with Collingwood VFLW representative Gab Biendenweg-Webster set to finally make her Animalettes debut with the Pies having a bye. She'll slot in up forward to add an extra threat up forward. Captain Sue Fearn-Wannan will have her first run in the ruck this year, whilst Shelby Lonie will make her return after some time spent in the South Pacific teaching. 

The Women will be looking to go at least one point better after kicking a last second goal to draw their previous match up with Powerhouse AFC. KL played ground siren that day due to some electrical issues, but coach Roy Fenton will prefer her in her new role this weekend patrolling across the final line of defence.


WOMEN: @ Powerhouse AFC - Ross Garvey Oval - 9.20am
RESERVES: @ UHS-VU - Brens Oval - 11.40am
SENIORS: @UHS-VU - Brens Oval - 2pm

Team Announcement Seniors Rd 13 @ UHS.jpg


After the Animals shock loss to Eltham last weekend, the Seniors will be looking to rebound against a Whitefriars FC team that is coming of a loss themselves.

The Animals suffered a heartbreaking last minute loss to Eltham, whilst Whitefriars kicked 5 goals in the last three quarters after starting with six in the first to be run down by a hot UHS-VU side. Both sides will be keen to reverse their fortunes for vastly different reasons this weekend, with the Animals looking to put a gap between them and the relegation zone, whilst Whitefriars are looking to stave off challenges to their top 4 spot.

Last time round Whitefriars were challenged early but had too much class for the Animals as they ran out 67 point winners, the scoreline not reflecting the effort shown by a tired Leo's outfit that was left with no one on the bench by the end of the match.

The Animals welcome back top full-forward Tom Birkett, who missed last week's clash, to lead the forward line. Birkett did not feature when the Animals took on Whitefriars earlier in the season, and his inclusion is set to cause issues to the Friars backline. He'll be joined by a fellow returnee in Lachlan Gunn which will see the Animals present a new pair of challenges up forward. 

In the middle, Matt Hooks returns from 2 weeks out of the senior side to start in the ruck for the Animals. Davis brothers Harry and Michael will start on the ball along with Alex McDougal who moves in to the middle from the forward line. Keiran Mair and Josh Webb will continue to add the run on the outside, with Josh Webb's kicking game one of the highlights at Eltham last weekend.

Down back, Phillip Carey is welcomed back into the Animals fold after playing a starring role for the Reserves last weekend. He headlines a brand new backline which sees Baxter Newbegin face off against a side he took an absolute hanger against, and had a second cruelly denied. Darcy Burke made the most of his senior debut last weekend and will retain his spot. Max Catchpool makes a return to the side to run off a flank, where he'll partner Tom Clarke who also retains his senior spot.

Another player retaining their senior spot is Shamus Nash who made an immediate impact when he entered the fray last weekend. He'll start on the bench again along with Tom Buick and Tom Wales, whilst Jye Douthat's impressive reserves performance last weekend is rewarded with a bench spot.

In the reserves, a spirited performance after last minute reinforcements were called upon saw the twos run out with a triple figure margin victory. Uni break has seen the twos struggle a little, but with Anthony Smith up front who has rocketed to second in the league goalkicking, they're always a chance to score highly.

Last time out against Whitefriars, the reserves also ran out the match short on the bench, with Alex Maunder being taken to hospital, as Whitefriars ran out 152-2 winners. 

The women will also be affected by the ill-timed uni break when they travel to take on South Melbourne Districts. The Swans were the last team the Animalettes were able to top and after last weeks heartbreaking one point comeback loss to MCC fresh in the minds, the Women will be looking to record their first win since Round 3 and head into the break on a high.


SENIORS: vs Whitefriars FC - Bennettswood Reserve - 2pm
RESERVES: vs Whitefriars FC - Bennettswood Reserve - 11.40am
WOMEN: @ South Melbourne Districts - Lindsay Hassett Oval - 12pm

Team Announcement Seniors Rd 12 vs WFC.png



Changes give new faces big chances

A week after one of the biggest games in Emmaus St. Leo's history, a different kind of challenge awaits when the Animals take on Eltham at Eltham College.

First team debuts have been handed to five players for tomorrow's clash, with Senior Coach Jason Fennell excited to see what the new faces will bring to the side.

Headlining the debutants is Reserves Vice-Captain Shamus Nash, who has been a major part of the recent winning form shown by the twos. Nash has been a mainstay in the Twos midfield this year, and his promotion to the Senior side is well deserved.

 Reserves Vice-Captain Shamus Nash will make his Senior debut this weekend

Reserves Vice-Captain Shamus Nash will make his Senior debut this weekend

Nash will start the game off the bench, where he is joined by another Senior debutant in Darcy "Screech" Burke. Burke has been in exceptional form of late, and his run has been vital in the recent form surge of the Reserves.

The Backline gets a winning feel as well with Sam Argus and Tom Buick locking down the backline, whilst Joden Crothers moves up to CHB. Flanking him is another debutant in Tom Clarke, who has excelled after only recently joining the club this year. He will be rebounding 50 with Josh Webb, who moves back from a wing position.

The midfield has undergone a mid-season re-jig with Lawrence Virgo and Michael Davis going inside this weekend against a gritty Eltham side. Outside Tom Wales moves from down back to the wing to partner with Keiran Mair.

The forward line is where the fifth Senior Debut lies, with Cameron Gardner going forward to team up with Alex McDougall, whilst Dan Hill returns to the Senior side after filling his boots last weekend against Powerhouse. Big V rep Baxter Newbegin has been thrusted forward after kicking a superb goal on the weekend.

Senior Coach Fennell said he was proud of not only his side, but the entire club last weekend with the way the entire Animals Family conducted themselves on the day. However the trip to Eltham provides it's own challenges, and a win here will go a long way to help secure Division Two football in 2019.

The reserves will be seeking a third straight victory when they precede the Senior side. They will be also looking to do a season double over Eltham, after notching up the feat against Powerhouse AFC. Quite a few players in the Reserves twenty-two this weekend will be looking to stake their claims with opportunities aplenty.

The women meanwhile will take on the MCC at Beaumaris College at 2pm as well. They'll be looking to buck a 6 game winless streak which includes a heavy home loss to MCC. Some key outs will make the job difficult, with the more noticeable absence of Shelby Lonie who is in Vanuatu volunteering to help schoolchildren.

SENIORS: @ Old Eltham - Eltham College Oval, 2pm
RESERVES: @ Old Eltham - Eltham College Oval, 11.40am
WOMEN: @ MCC - Beaumaris Secondary College Oval, 2pm

Team Announcement Seniors Rd 11 @ OEC.png

weekend wrap - june 16

SENIOR - Touching moments on and off the field as Animals claim dramatic victory - Geoff Koop

It literally came down to the last kick of the day, but Emmaus St. Leo’s held on to defeat Powerhouse AFC by 3 points in the tightest of contests at Bennettswood Reserve.

The day was soaked in emotion, after the sad passing of Nath and Paul Baranello’s brother earlier in the week. Nath returned from his overseas employment to join Paul on the field, and both were heavily supported by family and friends in what was a massive show of support and love by the Animals Family.

The scenes after the match, when the drama of the final kick was sorted, showed just how much this day, and this club, means to the Baranello family. When all was said and done, the club came together as one, and when father Joe was brought into the circle flanked by both brothers to belt out the loudest rendition of “Grand Old Flag” heard this side of the millennium the gravity of what had occurred shone through.

The performances by both Baranello brothers were of the highest quality, but were not out of place of the efforts we’ve come to know from them. Both men kicked massive goals in the context of the match, Paul in the second and Nath the winning score in the last, but it was the hard-nosed and contested nature of their games which really separated the Animals where it counted the most.

The game itself was already loaded with ramifications. Both teams sat 2-7 after the first half of the season and needed a victory to shock their campaigns back onto the right track.

Newly minted Big V representative Baxter Newbegin struck first for the Animals, with a sweetly hit shot on the run from outside 50, which drew a massive reaction from the Animals. A second quickly followed and it looked ominous for Powerhouse as the Animals settled and adapted to the difficult conditions, with swirling winds and squally showers making free flowing football a struggle.

Powerhouse responded with two goals of their own, but were wasteful with multiple chances as the inside 50’s mounted. Powerhouse seemed to respond to the emotion shown by the Animals and attempted to use it against Leo’s.

Monday after Seniors.jpg

A scuffle at Quarter Time outlined the how badly both teams wanted the four points, and showed the emotion that both sides were playing with.

The second term was owned by the Animals, four goals to one, including a beautiful set shot by Paul Baranello, saw Emmaus take control of the contest. Powerhouse were not without their chances, but kicking 1.5 meant the Animals were able to head into the main break with some breathing space.

The midfield contest was swinging the way of the Animals as Harry Davis once again dominated the corridor. The run of Keiran Mair and Sean Howard on the wings was causing issues as well. Veteran Lawrence Virgo returned to the set up and kicked a crucial goal, whilst captain Chris Beluszar showed his usual safe hands across the ground.

 Three Quarter Time Huddle

Three Quarter Time Huddle

The match swung with the weather in the second half, as Powerhouse kept the Animals goalless in the third. A strong rebound 50 game repelled multiple entries and a 2.2 quarter for House kept their small but very vocal old brigade content for a small period, as the Animals lead was cut to four at the final change.

It took a stirring three quarter time huddle, with the players surrounded by everyone in the Animals family, to get Leo’s back on track, and to remind them what was at stake. That was then very quickly forgotten as Powerhouse would take the lead only 30 seconds into the quarter.

The lead change spurred something inside the team though, and as a double rainbow shined brightly at the Tram End of the ground, Nath Baranello goaled from a set shot 50 out with 6 minutes left in the contest to drag the Animals back in front.

Powerhouse then lifted one final time, and when they marked on the siren on the corner of the 50m arc, the tussle got the grandstand finish it deserved.

 Nath Baranello kicks the winning goal

Nath Baranello kicks the winning goal

The kick itself was as good as it could be in the conditions from the distance, however it tailed back and a cluster of Animals camped on the goal line were able to get a hand on it, and despite the initial goal signal from volunteer goal umpire Glen Davis, the official VAFA umpires overruled and cut short the Powerhouse celebrations, and set off wild scenes amongst the Animals.




RESERVES - Animals bring the Power to their House - Matt Hill

What an emphatic win it was for the Emmaus St.Leo’s reserves against Powerhouse at Bennetswood Reserve. The Animals were dominant from the get go and never looked a bit out of shape on their way to recording a sensational 98-point win. The win keeps St.Leo’s within touching distance of the top four and with Eltham next week, the Animals will be certainly confident of snatching another victory to keep their fantastic momentum going and chase down a finals position.

The Animals victory was set up via a sensational and dominant first quarter display which saw the Animals pile on five majors in the opening quarter to construct a comfortable 25 point lead at the first change. 3 first quarter majors to St.Leo’s goal machine Anthony Smith and singles to the Hill duo in Dan and Matt Hill cemented the Animals superiority but the forward opportunities were set up via Tom Coleman who feasted upon his opposition ruckman and was directing the taps down to the likes of Shamus Nash who was sensational in the first winning plenty of the ball and asserting a strong physical presence in the middle.

Monday after Reserves.jpg

In the second stanza, the Animals kicked home a further five goals via Dan Hill, Stephen Jones, Matthew Hooks and Smith which helped extend the Animals lead to 57 points at the main change. The Animals usage of the ball was sensational and left Powerhouse helpless as St.Leo’s moved the ball freely all across the ground and pilled on multiple forward fifty entries of which the St.Leo’s forwards made full use of. The Animals middle brigade of Nash, Coleman, Jye Douthat, Thomas Clarke and Kieran Jenkins outplayed the Powerhouse midfielders and were simply more ferocious and determined to win the football. The Animals defence was also on song with Thomas Buick, Sam Argus, Cameron Gardner, Fraser Walker and Adam Jopling mopping up and foiling any attacks from Powerhouse and provided much of the Animals forward movement.

In the third the Animals could only manage two goals from their eight scoring opportunities which prevented St.Leo’s extending their lead to beyond 100 points. Hence, the Animals only had a 74 point lead at the last change. Hooks provided sensational run and carry and in conjunction with Buick, Clarke, Hill and Burke the Animals truly broke the game open and outworked their opponents.

 Another fantastic last quarter from the Animals saw another four goals converted for the home side via Micheal Mazzeo, Dan Hill, and Anthony Smith. This took Hill’s tally to 6 and Smith’s to 5 on what were fantastic days for both forwards. In the end St.Leo’s ran out massive 98 point winners and will look forward to their next encounter next weekend against Eltham, away at 11.40am.

WOMEN - Animals fail to avenge Prahan loss - Lachlan Chapman

It was a big day for the Animalettes as they went out to seek revenge for a controversial loss to prahran in their encounter earlier in the season.

Charlotte Page no doubt receives a fine in the warm up for wearing a matrix style jacket which was actually practically smart but still fineworthy sorry not sorry. The girls who started on the bench looked as happy as Christmas morning when they were supplied with warm blankies which proved a hit.

It was a tough start in the first quarter with the Animalettes kicking against a fairly strong breeze in the first quarter but it was a sluggish start and coach Feno implored the girls to win the contested footy like they showed against ladder leaders Preston the week prior.

The second quarter was by far the best for the Animalettes as they took advantage of the breeze with 2 goals to Sam Hogarth who is proving to be an opposition headache in the forward half aided by a great assist from Harris twin no.1 and the ever consistent Shannon Danckert yet again played another blinder. The girls on the bench were not surprised at who kicked that goal. However despite our attack flowing we let Prahran kick a couple of easy to goals to go into the main break with a 17 point lead.

Monday after Women.jpg

The second half proved to be tougher than Soraya for our girls. After a sickening collision with a Prahran player she was left with blood streaming down her face. Originally confused as to who's blood it was, a team huddle consensus came to the conclusion that it was in fact the first time Soy & tomato sauce had ever been combined. More concerned about that candid Insta Pic she made sure Elise was on hand to snap it & a soon to come Instagram poll will confirm whether head bandages are in fashion this season.

Anyway back to the game and despite the scoreboard not looking too flash it was fantastic to see two players plagued by injuries play great games. Gem Hargreaves was clearly best afield for the side and I believe that helmet is for the oppositions protection and not her own as her attack on the ball is that ferocious, after all she is a cop and wants to make all members of the community feel safe. KL was telling me some inspiring words pre-game to get herself psyched however they can't be repeated as they certainly weren't PG rated! She got better as the game wore on and made solid contributions all day down back.

Bridget and Alex fought hard all day against a good opposition Ruck and won plenty of hitouts to advantage & Kate Versace held her own in a rough day for the backline which at times even Superstar under 10's coach Tsunami could not find any answers. Sadly one of the few highlights for the second half was the goal umpire falling over. Grace showed good run and agression off a wing however all in all it was probably not our greatest team effort.

But that is all in the past and we can only look forward to some important games in the coming weeks. As Feno stressed post game it is of upmost importance to attend BOTH training's this week and I know you uni girls are done for the semester so in the words of club legend Doc "Get to training".

Everyone was cheered up very quickly though as Claire, Brooke, Sue & Dee all brought their doggos to the men's matches which produced 2 stunning results for the club in one of the most emotional victories ever witnessed. Also I'll start and end the review with fines. Sally gets one for saying 3 cheers for ourselves rather than the opposition.


No less than eight changes have been made to start the second half of the 2018 VAFA Division Two season when Emmaus St. Leo's take on Powerhouse AFC at home.

Captain Chris Beluszar headlines the star-studded list of returns for the Animals, and will head forward to team back up with Tom Birkett and other inclusion Anthony Hickey. Steve Downie also returns after a significant amount of time out, and will look to have an immediate influence.

Beluszar's move forward allows Big V train-on squad member Baxter Newbegin to take up the main role across half-back, where he has excelled all season. Nathan Baranello and Tom Wales slot back in down back as well, whilst Joden Crothers is rewarded with more game time down back after putting in a valiant effort at Bulleen before the mid-season break.

In the middle, the stability has been disrupted with Nathan Bird unavailable for selection seeing the hard-hitting Ray Kuhnell head in to the middle. He will add to an already gritty midfield of Paul Baranello and Harry Davis. Meanwhile on the wings Josh Webb replaces Matt Hill to help Keiran Mair provide the outside run.

On the bench, veterans Jonothan O'Connor and Lawrence Virgo return to help provide some experience when needed, whilst Reece Luehman returns to the senior side for the first time since Round 1, where he injured his ankle less than a minute into the game.

It's a vital game for the Senior Animals, who will be looking to bounce back after a horrific day out before the Queens Birthday break at Bulleen. The chance to send a message at home against a Powerhouse AFC team they have beaten before will be the perfect platform for the Senior Animals to jumpstart their 2018 season.

The Reserve Animals will also be looking to take the season sweep over Powerhouse AFC when the play the middle game. The Reserves had a fantastic day out at Bulleen, with Anthony Smith kicking 8. 

Meanwhile the Womens Animals will be out for revenge when they host Prahan Assumption to kick the day off. Claims of clock mismanagment halted the Animalettes run home in Round 2, when they went down in a close one. Vice-Captains Sally Hood and KL will make their returns from injury for the clash.

SENIORS: v Powerhouse AFC - 2pm
RESERVES: v Powerhouse AFC - 11.40am
WOMEN: v Prahan Assumption - 9.20am

Team Announcement Seniors Rd 10 vs POW.jpg


The Animals will look to handle the VAFA's fixture quirk when the men take on the Ants of Bulleen-Templestowe and the women face the Ants of Preston.

The Seniors will be buoyed by the return of key forward Tom Birkett from holidays, safe from the ferocious and unforgiving lava flows of Hawaii, but will lose captain Chris Beluszar due to back tightness.

Birkett still leads the seniors with 14 goals this year. despite only playing 4 games out of the possible 8 due to injury and leave, showing his potency to take the game by the throat. His return sees Lachlan Gunn move to CHF, where he will see Harry Davis line up next to him as well as Miguel Hawa. Ray Kuhnell and Dan Hill will continue to crumb the scraps.

In the middle, the only change sees the Davis brothers change spots, with Michael Davis taking his talents to the on-ball squad, again proving his versatility on the field. The regular crew of Jonathan Greensides, Paul Baranello, and Nathan Bird will line up in the middle. The 2 goal heroics of Matt Hill see him lock down one wing spot, whilst Keiran Mair provides the run on the other.

Down back, Nick Glanville gets his first taste of the backline in 2018, replacing Josh Webb. Glanville came off the bench in last week's harrowing loss to St. Johns. Tom Thorn makes his return to the senior side, taking up his familiar Fullback role, as all-round extraordinaire Baxter Newbegin pushes up the ground to CHB to fill the gap left by Chris Beluszar's absence on the field. The Max's, both Catchpool and Karklins flank Baxter. Joden Crothers is the other backman.

On the bench, Tom Wales returns to the side, with Jye Douthat, Matt Hookes, and Sean Howard retaining their rotation spots.

Coach Jason Fennell was keen on his team to dig in now that we have officially hit the colder months. Still with a run of games against sides surrounding the Animals on the table, it's a chance for the Leo's to go a long way to securing Division 2 Football in 2019.

Meanwhile the Women's team will be facing Preston just up the road at the same time as the Senior Men. Preston came to Bennettswood Reserve and taught the Animalettes a footballing lesson a month ago, but coach Roy Fenton believes his side can use last weeks come from behind draw against Powerhouse AFC as fuel to take down the Bullants.

Keep an eye on the club Facebook and Twitter to see all the updates from the games, whilst captain Chris Beluszar will be taking over the Animals Instagram for the day, to give you a special insight inside the Mens side of the Animals on gameday.

S: EMMAUS ST. LEO'S @ Bulleen-Templestowe - 2pm
R: EMMAUS ST. LEO'S @ Bulleen-Templestowe - 11.40am
W: EMMAUS ST. LEO'S @ Preston - 2pm

Team Announcement Seniors Rd 9 @ B-T.jpg


SENIORS - Animals narrowly defeated in enthralling contest with Saints - Matt Hill

What an outstanding game of football it was on the weekend at Bennettswood Reserve between Emmaus St.Leo’s and St. Johns. It was predicted to be a very tight contest and it certainly lived up to all the hype with the only difference being St. John’s ability to convert their opportunities in the last quarter to eventually run out 16-point winners.

The first quarter was slightly one of inaccurate goal kicking with only three goals kicked for the quarter but twelve behinds registered between the two sides with nine of those for St.John’s. Luckily for the Animals, St.John’s inaccurate conversion rate resulted in both sides going into the main break, locked at 15 apiece. Dan Hill and Lachlan Gunn kicked the two majors in the first for the Animals are were both looking ominous down forward for the Animals, providing plenty of pressure and leading options for the St.Leo’s midfielders to hit up. Furthermore, Nathan Bird was providing a lot of grunt and determination in the middle for the Animals, winning plenty of the ball in the first quarter to help propel the Animals forward movements. Baxter Newbegin was his usual self-down back, foiling multiple attacks from St.John’s and gathered countless intercept marks. Joshua Webb also had his chance of the limelight in the first quarter by dropping what would have been the mark of the century in my opinion and certainly would have won almost footy legends on Channel nines ‘The Footy Show’.

Monday after Seniors.jpg

In the second, more stability from the Animals saw them kick a further two majors via classy midfielder Paul Baranello and captain Chris Beluszar, who both led the Animals attack all day and had outstanding individual performances. However, inaccuracy again cost the Animals as their seven scoring shots only resulted in goals 28.6 percent of the time. This resulted in St.Johns holding a 10 point buffer heading into the main break.

In the premiership quarter, the Animals turned it on via slick ball movement and precision which resulted in St.Leo’s reducing the margin to six points heading into the last quarter. Goals to Baxter, Beluszar and Matt Hill saw the Animals take a lot of the momentum into the last quarter. In the last, the Animals had all the play but costly turnovers hurt the Animal as St.Johns made the most of their six opportunities, kicking four majors whilst the Animals only kicked to goals from the six scoring shots via Hill and Beluszar.

At the end of the day, it was a major opportunity missed for the Animals, who were left to go without reward in what was an outstanding game of football. Now sitting third bottom, the Animals take on Bullen this weekend away at 2pm and if the same effort is put in like that of the weekend. The Animals will be a good position to bring home the four points.

The best players on the day for St.Leo’s included veteran Paul Baranello, who was incredible all day in the middle for St.Leo’s winning clearances at his own will of which provided many scoring opportunities for the Animals. Baxter Newbegin had another fantastic game, kicking a goal and marking anything that was within his grasp. Chris Beluszar was outstanding, taking strong pack marks, kicking goals and leading his team sensationally in the narrow loss. The opposition had no answer for the power forward and caused numerous headaches all day for the opposition defenders. Nathan Bird and Max Catchpool, also had fantastic individual performances, racking up possession and using their superior ball skills to their advantage to help move the ball around the ground St.Leo’s. Their tackling pressure and second efforts around the ground were also outstanding in helping create turnovers of which eventuated in scoring opportunities for St.Leo’s. Lastly Dan Hill played a fantastic game the middle and down forward, as he provided enormous amounts of pressure which rattled the St.John’s defenders and resulted in inaccurate disposal efficient from the opposition. He also slotted a goal for his efforts and found plenty of the footy when working through the middle.

RESERVES - Animals go down but not without a fight - Matt Hill

The Emmaus St.Leo’s reserves put on a fantastic display on the weekend but unfortunately went down by 22 points. Despite conceding 43 points or 55% of St.John’s score in the first quarter, St.Leo’s dominated the second half and after quarter time, won the overall remaining three quarters by five points. Having an almost equal amount of scoring shots, it was a chance that went missing for St.Leo’s, with a slow start inevitably costing the home side a much needed victory.

Monday after Reserves.jpg

In the first, St.John’s pilled on seven goals to two to obtain a 27 point lead heading into the first change. In the second, St.Leo’s were inaccurate again in front of goal, only converting 25 percent of their opportunities into goals. However, the goal from Anthony Smith was an absolute ripper from the pocket as he bended around the corner from 35 metres out. St.John’s however, kicked another three goals in the second and extended their quarter time lead to 38 points at the main break. In the third, St.Leo’s bounced out of the rooms and kept the away side scoreless in the third term via some sensational defending from Tom Buick, Sam Argus, Adam Jopling, Adam Athorne and Darcy Burke. The sensational third quarter saw the Animals get within striking distance as they only trailed by 16 points going into the final change. Sadly, their efforts were left unrewarded as inaccurate kicking again in the last quarter, hurting the Animals immensely as at the other end St.John’s kicked a further two goals to close out the game and run out 22 point winners

Darcy Burke, Jonathon O’Connor, Sean Drummond, Adam Jopling, Stephen Jones and Kieran Jenkins all played sensational games for the Animals are were heavily involved in the Animals resurgence in the third quarter.

This week St.Leo’s take on Bullen away at 11.40am and are in desperate need for a win to keep their final chances alive.

WOMEN - Animals and Powerhouse can't be separated - Lachlan Chapman

It was a beautiful May morning at animal headquarters this week with the sun shining brightly and the home deck in pristine condition. However this was about the only thing to go right all morning with some bright spark plug thinking it was a good idea to switch off the power and with the over reliance on technology these days we were left with no goal post padding, scoreboard or siren (although KL's voice we’ve now found is probably more effective anyway)

The animalettes came in as underdogs against an impressive Powerhouse side that sits 2nd on the ladder and although there were less Irish accents than I had initially anticipated there were still a few from Hooksy’s native land. 
The girls got off to a flyer in the first dominating possession with Bridgetgetting us first use out of the middle with her ruckwork. There was definitely some ‘electricity’ around the contests which was rather ironic. Shannon D was rather unlucky with a huge soccer off the ground just going astray and hitting the post. Despite us having most of the play for the quarter Powerhouse snuck in 2 late goals and went into the first break with the lead.

Monday after Women.jpg

KL and her old man were doing their absolute finest to charm umpire Bruce and it seemed to work as he was officiating in great fashion. Another stirring speech from Feno and the girls were ready to rumble again. The second quarter was much like the first with the animalettes having most of the play although a leg injury to Rom and a whack in the face to Charlotte wasn’t ideal, especially for her considering she had her 21st that night I believe? Claire & Madeline were providing good targets up forward constantly presenting hard and taking plenty of marks in the forward half. It was clearly a hard fought game however with neither side scoring a goal in the quarter.

The Animalettes came out firing after the break. BrookeDee & Sue as always were generals down back and Alex kicked our first goal for the day. Chloe Cottier was putting her body on the line for the team and Sammy was leading by example in her first game as captain. It was also clear we had missed Sarah stenners over the past few weeks with her hard attack on the footy on display.

It was game on in the last and after a tough contest all day it came down to one kick after the siren with the ball in the safe hands of BOG Shannon D and as always we backed her in. Of course she proved she is once again a clutch performer and nailed the shot on goal which led to some wild scenes of celebration partly due to water girl Sally saying that we’d won the game when it was actually a draw but against 2nd on the ladder you would take that any day of the week and of course we were thrilled with the result.


Samuel Davis' sideways pinky finger has meant that an old face will make his 2018 senior debut when the Animals host St. Johns OC this weekend.

 Baxter Newbegin attempts to win a car over captain Chris Beluszar

Baxter Newbegin attempts to win a car over captain Chris Beluszar

Fresh from an interesting display for the two's last week, Josh Webb will slot in down back to fill the void left by Davis, which has forced coach Jason Fennell to shuffle the deck once again.

Joden Crothers has gone from the forward pocket down to the back pocket, with Mark of the Year front runner Baxter Newbegin slotting into the key defender role. Max Karklins moves up to a flank, whilst captain Chris Beluszar's stay down back continues after a strong showing at Whitefriars last weekend.

The middle four stay the same again this week as they continue to gel, whilst Matt Hill is rewarded for consistent form in the twos with a chance to provide some outside run this week, with Keiran Mair running on the other wing.

Miguel Hawa returns once again to throw his frame around at CHF, a role he has excelled in when called upon this year. He'll be flanked by Lawrence Virgo who has proven his fitness after being cleaned up on the weekend, while Michael Davis will get a nose bleed when he lines up on the other forward flank.

Lachlan "The Gunnshow" Gunn will look to trouble the scorers this week after a rough outing last time round, with Ray Linds and Dan Hill feeding off the crumbs up front with him.

 Senior Coach Jason Fennell

Senior Coach Jason Fennell

Providing the relief off the bench is the returning Jye Douthat, who was one of the best on field last weekend. Nick Glanville drops back to the bench to provide some spark, whilst Sean Howard and Matthew Hooks take up the other rotation spots.

Coach Fennell has targeted the next four games as a key run for the Animals, with the view to win all four and return back into finals contention. The lack of selection consistency of recent has lead to some headaches on Thursday nights, but with some key pieces to return either just before, or after the Queens Birthday break, the time for a season revival is looking good.

All three games are at home this weekend, so make sure you're there for every bit of the action.

EMMAUS ST. LEO'S vs St. Johns OC
Seniors: 2pm
Reserves: 11.40am
EMMAUS ST. LEO'S vs Powerhouse AFC
Women: 9.20am

Team Announcement Seniors Rd 8 vs STJ.jpg



This weekend was an important one for the Animals on and off the field. On the field both men's teams whilst high on morale, they needed a win to really get things going for season 2018. The tenacity and energy that both sides played with this weekend was second to none, and the gusto that both songs were sung with was an audible extraordinaire.
But it was the people involved that made this weekend even better.
The returns of Tom Coleman and Chris Beluszar to the field were both fantastic to see, and you could see how important it was for them both to be back out playing footy on a Saturday with the boys.
Harry Davis had been neck deep in preparing and setting up an event he would see nothing of in the Ladies High Tea. The success of the event is a testament to his hard work in setting up the day. The fact he kicked the first major of the day was definitely fate.
Departing president Nathan Baranello, who has given far too many hours to ensuring we have a football club, played yet another fantastic game, and will be sorely missed by everyone at the club both on the field and behind the scenes. The man with all the answers will not be lost to us for good, but it may be a while before he pulls on the jersey again.
Off the field, the Ladies High Tea was a fantastic event and we will be releasing soon all the results from that day. For the club to organise and hold such an event is a fantastic reflection on the people at Emmaus St. Leo's OCFC and what we stand for.
ESLOCFC Mothers Day High Tea 12_5_18 (34 of 48).jpg

SENIORS - Animals comprehensive against helpless Turtles - Matt Hill

It was an outstanding and much needed win for Emmaus St.Leo’s seniors on the weekend in their round six encounter with fellow cellar dwellers Eltham. The Animals were tremendous from the get go and never surrendered their lead to eventually run out comfortable 74-point winners at home in front of a very healthy crowd at Bennettswood Reserve. The Animals now have two wins and four loses so far in the home and away season and will look to make it three wins of the weekend when they take on Whitefriars.

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In the first, St.Leo’s pounced on their opponents and didn’t give them an inch of space, to sum it up the Eltham players had about as much time as those who live in the city centre of Melbourne do backyards. 10 scoring shots to 3 set up an incredibly healthy 32-point lead at the first change. A goal from captain Chris Beluszar on his return game (after missing the last few weeks) certainly lifted the spirits of all the players in the St.Leo’s side and of which resulted in Tom Birkett and Lachlan Gunn causing all sorts of havoc for the Eltham defenders as they too bagged first quarter majors.

In the second stanza, the game was evenly poised with both sides registering five scoring shots for the quarter but St.Leo’s were able to stretch their lead out to a 37 point buffer at the main break. In the premiership quarter St.Leo’s essentially put the game to bed with a further three goals courtesy of superstar defender Nathan Baranello, gun Tasmanian Nic Glanville and one of the best forwards in the league in Tommy Birkett. In the last, St.Leo’s continued their superiority and outscored their opponents by 25 points as they booted a further five goals to extend their 49 point lead at three quarter time to the final margin of 74 points.

It was a tremendous display from St.Leo’s on a day of which they couldn’t afford to lose another game as a loss would have almost ruled out their chances of making finals. For the Animals, Harry Davis was the best player on the ground, racking up numerous disposals and using each one superbly to benefit his side and help his team get over the line. Paul Baranello was another standout as per usual and continued his incredible season with another outstanding contribution from the St.Leo’s veteran in the middle. Baxter Newbegin played another fantastic Alex Rance like game in defence with his incredible intercept marking giving Eltham no chance of making the most of their forward movements. Raymond Kuhnell also had a fantastic game with his tackling pressure and constant efforts around the ball a clear highlight for all to see. Lawrence Virgo played yet another outstanding game all over the ground using his superior ball skills to hit up teammates all around the ground and giving all Eltham players no time around the ball. Lachlan Gunn rounded out the best players for the game as he booted three majors for the Animals and worked tirelessly all day. The big man was rightfully rewarded for his efforts and is proving to be a major threat and key forward in the St.Leo’s line up.

This week, St.Leo’s will look to string together two wins in a row for the first time this season as they take on Whitefriars who are in fantastic form and sit second on the ladder. However, they did lose their first game for the season in round 6 and the Animals will be looking to make the most of the vulnerability this week when they take on Whitefriars at Whitefriars College Oval at 2pm on Saturday. Should the Animals record another victory it would create massive headlines around the league and send a major message to all other teams.

RESERVES - Return of Coleman lifts Animals to second win - Matt Hill

Well, what a day it was for the boys in blue in blue, with the Animals reserves recording their second win for the season and first at home for the year in style with a comfortable 64 point win against Eltham. With the return of the Tom Coleman after serving a prolonged period on the sidelines courtesy of an ACL injury, the boys were certainly up and about and desperate to get a win on the board for not only the club and themselves but most importantly for Coleman.

In the first the Animals broke out of the blokes and kicked three early first quarter goals which gave the side a lot of confidence and there was a lot of enjoyment out there. Anthony Smith slotted the first for the day due to a sensational overhead mark which he converted easily from 40 metres out. Then an amazing goal from another postcode from Webby saw the Animals bouncing around and full of confidence. Webby celebrated in style with a 'have a look at me boys' Joe Daniher celebration which the goal was certainly worth of. Darren Steiert also weaved his magic in the forward line and converted a sensational goal which included a fantastic side step which Steven Motlop clearly saw before he did the same against Adelaide a few hours later.

However, the blitzing start, Eltham bounced back with three goals against the breeze which resulted in a muchly needed rev up at quarter time from Coach Paul McGloin which would have rivalled anything Mick Malthouse would have dished out at his time as a senior AFL coach.

Monday After Reserves.jpg

The spirited quarter time huddle, resulted in St. Leo's bouncing back and defending with lives against the breeze with Buick, Argus and Tall Max dominating in the backline foiling and intercepting all Eltham attacks that came their way. Cam Gardner was providing as the playmaker down back and hit up targets left right and centre to string together St.Leo’s forward movement. The Animals kicked only two goals for the quarter via Adam Athorne who snuck his way forward and finished brilliantly from 35 metres out. Anthony Smith also booted his second for the game in the second quarter. The defensive effort from St.Leo’s held Eltham to only three behinds which was truly a sensational effort and of which resulted in St.Leo’s going into the main break with a 17 point lead.

In the third, St.Leo’s broke the game wide open and made sure that they would get their first win of the season at home with a further five majors via spirited midfielder Shamus Nash, courageous defender and now intercept marker Adam Jopling, Darcy Burke and another two goals to Smith which took his tally to five. With the game almost done and dusted the Animals finished off the last quarter in style, converting another three goals via classy half-forward Stephen Jones, Athorne and Smith again who kicked a miraculous goal from the boundary line which quite honestly defied the laws of physics. Once again, the defensive set up behind the ball implemented tremendous ball movement forward with constant switches of the play and sharp and swift ball movement which was quite honestly to much for Eltham to handle. In the end, St.Leo’s won by 64 points and had finally been able to string together a fantastic game together with 3 sensational quarters after an average first quarter. The Animals will certainly look to continue their momentum forward when they take on Whitefriars this Saturday away at 11.40am.

For the Animals Max Karklins was best on ground and was the general down back intercepting and creating a lot of run from the half back line which created fantastic forward momentum which resulted in constant scoring opportunities. Joden Crothers was sensational on the ball and the wing with his toughness over the ball and fantastic marking skills a highlight of his game. Anthony Smith was tremendous in the forward line booting six majors for the game and winning any contest that was in his vicinity. He clearly must have watched Ben Ronke the night before as Smith was clearly a man on a mission. Cam Gardner was another standout with his silky ball movement bringing tears to all lovers of football and half-back flankers as the did not miss a target for the entire game and was a major principle in helping the Animals get the win. Jye Douthat was incredible also in the middle via his constant attack and immense tackling pressure which resulted in the superstar midfielder racking up countless disposals. However, the day belonged to Coleman who played an incredible first game back after a major injury which in itself takes tremendous courage and determination. Coleman worked his back side off in the pre-season and has got his body in superb condition and deserves all the rewards that come his way. He was sensational in the ruck, asserting his almighty presence all around the ground and stuck fear into his opponents with his robust tackling and pressure around the ball.

With the Animals, finally getting some momentum and playing same fantastic football, hopefully the side can continue their winning form and grab another victory on the weekend.

WOMEN - Animals join wait list for third win after MCC loss - Lachlan Chapman

It was a highly anticipated clash with the teams 3rd and 4th on the ladder respectively. MCC came out firing early with some handy players running loose in the middle but our backline was holding strong, in particular the standout player on the ground Shellby with that pink ribbon flowing (surely must be worn at every game now) however we were unable to hold the wave of momentum and MCC got off to a flyer. We’re all used to seeing Feno as a big cuddly teddy bear but by his standards he gave a massive quarter time spray which I would give a 6/10 normally but a 10/10 for Feno (if you wanted to see a proper 10/10 you should have stuck around the reserves quarter time huddle).

Monday After Women.jpg

It was a much better second quarter for the animalettes with Alex O'Sullivan laying some great tackles and returning this week in the Ruck after presumably filming the Netflix renewal of Saddle club (Idk if that’s legit I just made it up). She was well supported in the Ruck by Bridget who was the only person smart enough to bring a blanket to the game because it was cold AF later on. I was keeping the stats for Rhiannon in the middle which were; girls she almost killed: 5, holding the balls against: 4 & opposition players sh*tting themselves every time she’s running towards them: 47. But in all seriousness she fought hard all day and slotted a great set shot goal.

We were all thrilled to have Jemma Solomon back for her first game bringing her high octane energy however it was a tough initiation after she failed to hear Roy’s instructions from 10 metres away and also managed to fall over her own feet when literally nobody was near her. Can I have Soy with my dim sims also fought hard all day in the middle despite still carrying a niggling injury. Charlotte ‘super boot’ Page then slotted a nice running goal to end what was a disappointing first half on a high.

The old football saying is that games are won and lost in the 3rd (Premiership) quarter and unfortunately for us it was probably our poorest quarter of the game, we were struggling to say the least but some great work in the back half by Chloe and Monika kept the scoreline respectable. Caroline ‘big rig’ Simon as per usual was putting her body on the line and winning us the hard ball when we needed it most. Sam Hogarth was also taking some great marks across the ground.

Despite the end result the last quarter showed some very promising signs with some great passages of play including Shannon Danckert’s goal of the day from outside 50. We can take many positives from that last quarter and bring it in to next weeks twilight showdown against Yarra Valley. Shellby again gets another wrap after the opposition coach gave her great praise after the game. I also wanted to give Jess Evans votes for the amount of lip she gave all day but apparently that’s ‘against the rules’.


The return of captain Chris Beluszar and leading goalkicker Tom Birkett headline the Animals team announcement this week ahead of the clubs all important Mothers Day Game.

The clubs senior team will don pink jerseys for the clash, to raise awareness for breast cancer and to help the National Breast Cancer Foundation, whilst the club will hold a Ladies High Tea at the same time, with 100% of the funds raised going towards helping breast cancer research.

Captain Beluszar returns to the Animals after 3 weeks out and will slot straight back in at CHB, pairing up with league best intercept defender Baxter Newbegin. Tom Wales also moves into the backline off the wing after a strong showing at Parade.

It's a 'Davis Affair' in the middle, with hardman Harry Davis running through the square, whilst older brother Michael will provide the outside run and benefit from the middle work. Max Catchpool will provide run from the other wing and will be looking to return to the goalscorers list after failing to make a mark last week.

The forward line is boosted by the return of club leading goalkicker Tom Birkett from a frustrating lower body injury. Birkett's inclusion will see the explosive forward pairing of Jack Hunt and Lachy Gunn turned into a terrorising trio. Gunn (4) and Hunt (2) were outstanding for the Animals against Parade, and will look to cash in against the second worst defense in Division 2.

Sammy Davis makes his return to the senior side after missing since the win over Powerhouse, and will come off the bench to potentially make it 3 Davis boys on the field at once which will be a sight not to be missed. Miguel Hawa, Sean Howard, and Matt Hooks retain their rotation spots, and will once again provide quality in relief.

Coach Jason Fennell stressed the importance of the upcoming weeks, with this game the beginning of a run where the Animals leader is confident the club can pick up some much needed win. Fennell was encouraged by the mixture of some key ins accompanying general stability. With only 5 changes in the past two weeks compared to the 20+ in the first three weeks.

EMMAUS ST. LEO'S vs Eltham Turtles
Seniors: 2pm
Reserves: 11.40am
Women: 9.20am vs Melbourne Cricket Club

Team Announcement Seniors Rd 6 vs ELT.jpg



It was another disappointing weekend for the Emmaus St.Leo’s senior side with our boys going down to 59 points again st a very strong and functional Old Paradians outfit who will be hot contenders when finals come around.

Monday After Seniors.jpg

With the inclusions of key forward Lachlan Gunn and Louis Fasolino, who didn’t find out he was playing seniors until arriving at the ground to play reserves, the Animals were certainly up and about for what was set to be an enthralling contest.

In the first Paradians got on top early with eight scoring shots to four of St.Leo’s which saw the home side register a 14 point lead at the main break. In the second St.Leo’s booted four majors for the term but were outgunned by Paradians who piled on seven goals for the term to extend their lead to 32 points at the main break. In the third and fourth, Paradians kicked away and booted a further twelve goals for the game whilst St.Leo’s still managed a respectable eight goals for the final two quarters of the game to eventually go down by 59 points.

Jack Hunt was a superstar up forward for the Animals with the young Tasmanian import booting fourmajors for St.Leo’s and was providing sensational leads and causing many headaches for the Paradians defenders. Gunn also worked hard all day and was rightfully rewarded for his sensational game by slotting two majors for the game. Lawrence Vigro, was the Animals best for the day winning a lot of the footy and asserting his physical dominance around the ball through his incredibly strong tackling. Raymond Kuhnell, also was a standout for the Animals throughout the middle, gathering multiple possessions which enabled St.Leo’s the opportunity of multiple forward fifty entries and counter attacks. The Baranello brothers in Paul and Nathan rounded out the best players on the day for St.Leo’s. Paul as usual accumulated disposals as easily as he does tax returns during the day and his brother Nathan was sensational down back foiling multiple Paradian attacks and creating many forward movements for the Animals.

Next week is critically important for the Animals, with only one win on the board so far, another loss would make it the Animals job of making finals all that bit harder. So the game against Eltham at Bennetswood on the weekend will be a game the St.Leo’s boys will certainly be up for.

First bounce for the seniors is a 2pm.


It was yet another tough day at the office for the Emmaus St.Leo’s reserves side with the boys going down by 74 points against Old Paradians on their home turf.

In what was actually a very tight and competitive game, St.Leo’s inability to convert their forward fifty entries into goals was inevitably
the sides downfall as Old Paradians made them pay by converting their opportunities at the other end. Now sitting on 9th on the ladder, the reserves will certainly need to string a large amount of wins on the board to get themselves back into the finals conversation.

In the first both sides were evenly poised and battling for control on the game with both sides registering an equal amount of inside fifties for minimal rewards. With four scoring shots to three in the first, Paradians managed to obtain a 11 point lead at the end of the first but with the advantage of a slight breeze, St.Leo’s were highly confident in reversing the tide and securing dominance in the
second stanza.

In the second, Paradians completely blew the game wide open through their superior ball movement which was provided through their dominance in centre clearances. Their ability to get first use of the ball enabled their forwards to have constant opportunities and with the leading patterns they were providing it was incredibly hard for the St.Leo’s defenders to foil Paradians attacks. Kicking five to
only two behinds of St.Leo’s, Paradians bolted out to a 41 point half time lead.

With some tactical talks with one and another in the break, St.Leo’s tried to solve many of their problems that were preventing them from capitalizing on the scoreboard. Coming out for the premiership quarter and with the game certainly not out of reach. St.Leo’s had a fantastic opportunity to make amends for their first half and potentially cause a dramatic come from behind win.

Unfortunately, it was much of the same in the third with St.Leo’s not registering a single scoring shot for the quarter. The set up behind the ball of Paradians enabled them to flow exceptionally well out of the backline and create multiple two on ones in the forward fifty which made it very hard for the Animals forwards to take marks and kick goals. At the other end, Paradians kicked another four
goals and put the nail in the Animals potential resurgence once and for all. At the last change, St.Leo’s trailed by 66 points and would need a miraculous turn of event to comeback from here.

Monday After Reserves.jpg

In the last, St.Leo’s showed some fantastic signs of what could have been with some fantastic forward ball movement through the middle and out of defence which saw the Animals rightfully rewarded with their first goals for the game via two sensational finishes from Matt Hill and Nic Robin.

In the end, St.Leo’s were outplayed but considering the 74 point margin, the scoreboard was not a true reflection on the game.

For the Animals Alexander Stokes, Michael Mazzeo, Nic Robin and Shamus Nash were the outstanding players for the game and provided some resurgence through their efforts and were highly valuable for the Animals.

Taking on Eltham Collegians AFC next week at home who are also towards the bottom of the ladder, St.Leo’s will look to attain their second win for the season and get their season back on track.

Reserves play at 11.40 at Bennetswood Reserve.

Some things I learnt from the game.
1) St.Leo’s need to apply more forward pressure and have much better entries into the forward line.

With a large amount of forward fifty entries for the game St.Leo’s were unable to capitalise on their opportunities in which cost them any opportunity of winning the game. St.Leo’s need to work on their forward fifty entries and their ball delivery to their forwards.

2) Momentum is everything
With multiple large losses now for the reserves side, it has become obvious that momentum has been highly influential in the outcomes of games. If St.Leo’s can build momentum on the weekend and kick multiple goals in a flurry, St.Leo’s will be in a fantastic position to win on the weekend.

3) Fast ball movement is so important
Playing on at every opportunity makes it much harder for defenders to do their jobs and creates havoc for the opposition. At times on the weekend, St.Leo’s took the game on and when they did they looked very dangerous. With this being implemented at training, St.Leo’s will look to improve on this area in the coming weeks and hopefully reap the rewards from taking the game on.


last Saturday we come up against top side Preston Bullants, with 12 girls unavailable due to illness, music festivals and other events it was going to be a tough ask.

Preston were a solid, hard at the footy team which was taking it's toll on us, girls coming of bruised and battered. The backline was bombarded, the ball was coming down very quickly but with Mon, Captain Szunami, Brooke and Dee playing a great game tried hard to keep the opposition out but the ball just kept coming back in.

Monday After Women.jpg

After half time with a few changes we come out with a point to prove, both Snook and Bridget doing well in the Ruck, Shannon on the ball as well as KL running amuck in the middle, Shelby great attacking play down back, Caroline was in everything throwing her huge frame around and up forward Ri, Elise, Amy and Sam and the Harris twins (yes I still can't tell them apart) played great footy. 
With the score line not looking flash the most pleasing thing was that you girls never gave in.

We came out of the game with a few injuries KL Knee, Kate V ankle and Sal Pal shoulder and a number of bruises we know what to expect when we meet them again.

Although the score was not what we wanted we are still in the fore, we come up against another side in the fore this week in MCC in a Triple header at the club.

Stability found before parade day

The Animals have found some stability before their trip to Garvey Oval to take on the undefeated Old Paradians, with only 2 changes to the side from last weeks unlucky defeat to Yarra Valley.

A season debut to the big gun Lachlan Gunn at Full Forward, filling in for the injured Tom Birkett who misses a second week after being a late withdrawal from last weeks game. Gunn's announcement was met with a raucous cheer at the Thursday night team dinner, with the entire club knowing he will do us proud on the weekend.

Tom Thorn is the other addition to the Animals in Round 5, replacing Sam Argus at Fulback to deal with dangerous Parade forward Michael Boundy (13 goals in 4 games). He will team up with the best key defender and intecept mark in Division Two in Baxter Newbegin.

There are some positional switches as well, with the quest to fit all the pieces of the puzzle, with Michael Davis moved out of the guts down back, with Dan Hill moving from his danger forward position into the middle, and Keiran Mair moving inside the forward 50.

Big man Miguel Hawa filled in at Full Forward last weekend with aplomb and has been rewarded with a spot on the bench, while last week's other late addition in Jye Douthat also keeps his spot.

It's a crucial game for the Animals this week, with the potential top 4 spot that was seen as a viable goal at the start of the season starting to become a more arduous task than first expected.

Conditions are expected to favour the Animals though, with the gusty winds and potential showers meaning a potential for ESL to rain on the parade at Garvey Oval growing with every passing rain band.

Seniors will start at 2pm, with the reserves bouncing at 11.40am. Closer to home however the Animals Women's side will host Preston at Bennettswood Reserve from 2pm as well.

Team Announcement Seniors Rd 5 @ OP.jpg

weekend wrap

Seniors - Bushrangers shoot down Animals

It was another hard weekend for both Emmaus St. Leo’s senior and reserve sides with neither team able to take home the four points against Yarra Valley Bushrangers. In what has been a tough start to the season for St.Leo’s both sides now sit with one win and three losses, and will certainly need a win this weekend to keep touch the top four, even though we have only just completed round 4.

Seniors battled hard all day but unfortunately end up going down by 33 points which was built of a seven goal straight third quarter to Yarra Valley, which inevitably sealed the away sides fate. With Jye Douthat and Miguel Hawa coming back into the team alongside debutant Jack Hunt starting at Centre Half Forward to replace captain Chris Belzhuar, the Animals were positive they could record a much needed win against the Bushrangers. In the first, a 10-goal shootout between the sides saw a narrow 14 point lead open up in favour of the Bushrangers, who made use of some costly turnovers in the middle of the ground by St.Leo’s and were able to capitalize on their misfortunes.

Monday After Seniors.jpg

In the second stanza, the two teams were evenly split only kicking two goals for the quarter, whilst battling for the ball around the ground. The Animals started the quarter well, with their forward pressure causing issues and casting doubt into the minds of the Yarra Valley ball-movers. This lead to two quick goals to bring the scores level. Yarra Valley then rallied, with their outside run dangerous when they could escape their own 50. Half time came with both teams believing that this game was theirs for the taking.

In the third, the Bushrangers accelerated away with seven majors to almost kill off St.Leo’s then and there. The Bushrangers superior ball movement and forward fifty set up and pressure allowed multiple opportunities for the home side which they made the most of. It deflated the belief in the Animals camp as nearly every forward 50 entry led to a goal. The Bushrangers set shots were deadly accurate, kicking 7 goals straight after the Animals had levelled scores, as nothing fell the Animals way after the 5 mintute mark of the quarter.

In the last, St.Leo’s won the quarter, showing grit and hunger that had abandoned them in the third, but were unable to restrict the margin to anymore than 9 points, ending up going down by 33 points.

However, many positives could be taken out from the last quarter with eight scoring shots to four. St.Leo’s had opportunities to reduce the margin even further and could have even pulled off a miraculous comeback, but wayward kicking meant that their efforts would be in vain in this game. The last quarter for the Seniors on the weekend will hold them in good shape for this weekends game away against Old Paradians, who have recorded an undefeated start to 2018.

Paul Baranello was once again best on ground for his dominant work in the middle, winning the ball effortlessly and using his sublime foot and hand skills to hit up his team mates all around the ground. Michael Davis also played a sensational game in defence and through the middle, playing a lock down role through his time in the midfield and winning a majority of his contests in the defensive end. Debutant Jack Hunt was another that excelled; kicking two goals for the day, Hunt led constantly up and down the ground all day and was rightfully rewarded for this efforts. Nathan Baxter and Nathan Baranello also has outstanding games as usual in defence, intercepting and foiling multiple Yarra Valley forward entries whilst providing the foundation for the Animals forward ball movement and counter attacks. Nathan Bird played another fantastic game also in the midfield working hard all day for St.Leo’s.

Reserves - Wayward kicking makes life hard for Twos

It was another extremely hard day at the office for the reserves side as the went down by 104 points in another very disappointing performance by the Reserves side.

The first quarter was all one-way traffic with only poor kicking by Yarra Valley still leaving some hope for an Animals resurgence in the remainder of the game. The Bushrangers kicked three goals and nine behinds in the first to only lead by 24 points at the first break and thankfully for the Animals it wasn’t anymore than that.

In the second, St.Leo’s started to find and open up more forward fifty entries but due to Yarra Valley's set up behind the ball they were constantly able to move the ball out of defence easily and progress down the other end to where they pilled on nine goals for the quarter.

However two goals both via snaps to Hill and Smith saw the Animals build some momentum in patches in the second quarter but it wasn’t anywhere near enough to reduce the margin as Yarra Valley stormed into the main break with a dominant 66 point lead.

The third quarter was once again dominated by Yarra Valley as the home side kicked a further seven goals to one to extend their lead
at the last change to 99 points, as the heat of the day sapped the energy from both sides on the big oval.

Fired up and determined in the last the Animals dominated the quarter and technically won the quarter after a delay on the siren provided Yarra Valley with another goal. St.Leo’s had seven scoring shots for the quarter but only managed one goal which really summed up the Animals day. However the point, with swift ball movement and multiple switches across the ground the Animals opened up Yarra Valley and were able to get constant inside fifties and cause all sorts of distress for the home side. Unfortunately, this run was a couple of quarters to late.

Joden Crothers (despite nursing an injury) was the Animals best on ground for the day as he constantly but his head over the ball and was able to collect the football to distribute to his team mates. Louis Fasolino played a fantastic game throughout the midfield, asserting constant pressure around the ball whilst winning it himself. Lachlan Gunn played the a little out of his comfort zone as he
had to switch from full forward to an entire game in the ruck which the big man excelled in. He battled all day and used his superior strength around the ground to win multiple ruck contests and give first use to the St.Leo’s midfielders. Anthony Smith was a livewire up front for the Animals kicking two major and being a constant threat up forward with his smart footy knowledge and outstanding foot skills. Darren Steiert was another standout playing in defence he battled all day and was very influential coming off the half back line and providing linkup play towards the Animals forward 50.

Next Week Emmaus St.Leo’s take on Old Paradians away at the Garvey Oval with both sides desperate for a win it is all set up to be an exciting contest.

Four changes ahead of school trip

The Animals are keen to put last weeks loss to the Vultures behind them when they take on Yarra Valley this weekend. It will be a rare trip for ESL this weekend with both games being moved to Yarra Valley Grammar School oval, away from the regular home of the Bushrangers at Doncaster Reserve.

Four changes have been made to last weeks team, with the most obvious being to Sean "Spider" Bourke. Spider spent most of the week in hospital with kidney damage sustained from a marking contest on the weekend, but not before playing the majority of Saturday's game as the #1 ruckman with the injury. Spider was at training last night and is hoping to make a swift recovery.

Luckily for the Animals regular #1 ruckman Jonathan Greensides is back into the 22 this weekend, and will be looking to create synergy with his midfield mates in Nathan Bird, Michael Davis, and Paul Baranello. The three of them once again getting the nod in the middle.

Changes to the outside runners once again, with a senior debut handed to Tom Wales after strong performances in the twos. He will be joined by Kieran Mair on the other wing, who's back in the starting side after starting from the bench last weekend.

Two other senior debuts have been handed out this week, with Jack Hunt starting at Centre Half Forward in the absence of captain Chris Beluszar. Hunt joins a rejigged forward line that sees Max Catchpool, leading goalkicker from last weekend, move into the forward line from the wing, and Nick Glanville move closer to the ball, whilst Lawrence Virgo move to the other end of the field.

Max Karklins will also make his senior debut off the bench, after repeated solid efforts for the reserves. His reward will see the Animals bench have some more versatility added to it, and look to make more of the times when the opposition tire.

Coach Jason Fennell was keen to get some consistency going with the senior side, and resisted the temptation to make sweeping changes after the 10 goal loss to UHS-VU, knowing that this weekend is a chance for redemption for some.

The senior side sit 7th on percentage behind Yarra Valley and will be looking to keep pace with the top 4.

Yarra Valley Old Grammarians vs Emmaus St. Leo's
Yarra Valley Grammar School
Reserves: 11.40am
Seniors: 2pm

Team Announcement Seniors Rd 4 @ YVOG.jpg

weekend wrap up - round 3

Seniors - Animals yet to find winning touch at home

Emmaus St.Leo’s have gone down in their third game of the season end round three with one win and two losses. Playing against a red hot Uhs-Vu Afc side who are likely finals and premierships contenders, the Animals were within touching distance in the first quarter before being out played in predominantly in the second and last quarters. In the end St.Leo’s went down by 56 points.

Monday After Seniors.jpg

St.Leo’s went blow for blow in the first term with both sides managing three majors in the quarter to be only separated by one point at the opening change. In the second, UHS-VU took flight and found their moko from their opening round matches to boot eight goals to two, which saw the away side open up a 33-point lead at the main break. What also hurt the Animals in the quarter were their conversions from forward fifty entries. With seven scoring shots for the quarter the Animals were only capable of turning that into 17 points whilst UHS-VU had nine scoring shots and piled on 49 points.

The third stanza saw a more balanced term with both sides kicking four goals and a similar amount of scoring shots to have the game margin only extend to 34 at the final change. In the last, UHS-VU turned the after burners on and put St.Leo’s to the sword with six final quarter goals to run out 56 point winners.

For the Animals, Paul Baranello was best on ground after his week off and was sensational in the middle winning plenty of the ball and providing as a major provider for the Animals forward line. He also kicked two valuable goals. Brother Nathan Baranello also played a fantastic game in the backline setting up much of the Animals forward ball movements whilst also implementing numerous defensive efforts which prevented UHS-VU scoring. Dan Hill played a fantastic game in the forward line kicking one major and causing the opposition defenders nightmares with his harassing forward fifty pressure. Sean Bourke played a fantastic game in the ruck and battled all day and Newbegin Baxter played yet another outstanding game in defence, with his intercepts and spoiling defensive efforts. Another standout player was Tasmanian midfielder Max Catchpool who snuck forward and managed to kick four majors for the game.

St.Leo’s will look to bounce back next week against Yarra Old Grammarians away, who are also sitting with one win and two losses. The winner next week will win break even their win to loss ratio whilst the other will have some catching up to do. It is set for an enthralling match and will kick off at 2pm at Yarra Valley Grammar.

Reserves - Only up from here

It was an extremely hard day at the office for Emmaus St.Leo’s reserves on the weekend, going down by 97 points to a highly skilled, slick and superior UHS-VU side.

From the opening bounce, UHS-VU asserted their dominance in the first with ten scoring shot to two to open up an 18-point lead at the opening break. If it wasn’t for some more accurate goal kicking the difference at the break could have been much worse. One of the only highlights for the quarter was a fast end to end movement of the ball from the Animals which eventuated in Max Karklins kicking his first major for the day.

The second was much of the same with St.Leo’s only managing another seven points to much their first quarter. Whilst, UHS-VU, with their superior ball movement around the ground and delivery into their forward fifty saw a further five goals kicked with another seven behinds to extend their lead to 48 points at the main change.

Monday After Reserves.jpg

After a stern half-time address Paul McGloin, the Animals played some sensational football and for much of the quarter were the better of the two sides. St.Leo’s finally worked the ball well around the ground and managed to penetrate the UHS-VU defence, kicking four goals for the quarter through Jye Douthat, Matt Hill, Sam Barrah and another to Max Karklins.

The last quarter however was highly disappointing with UHS-VU continuing the extraordinary display to boot another seven goals to propel their lead to just below three figures. At the end of the day, St.Leo’s were outplayed in nearly each facet of the game, however the third quarter from the Animals showed much of the sides capabilities and potential if they can string together their third term performance for an entire game.

On positive notes for the Animals Jye Douthat, was sensational the entire day in the midfield providing a ball winner for the other midfields to feed off and propel forward attacking movements. Karklins also was outstanding, playing a standout role in the ruck winning many of his ruck contests and constant second efforts around the ground. He also kicked two goals when he ventured down forward. Kieran Jenkins, Sam Barrah, Anthony Smith and Adam Athorne also played sensational games for the Animals.

Taking on Yarra Old Grammarians away next week, the Animals will implement what they need to improve on during the week to hopefully come away with a victory next week.

Women - Women stay perfect at home

In a sharp contrast to the previous week, it was perfect conditions at the Animals arena for the 3rd round match-up with South Melbourne. Disappointingly, the opposition only had 17 players which meant an extended bench again, which dropped again to 16 when an SMD player went down. It definitely highlights the efforts of the club to attract big numbers in our first year when so many other teams have struggled to get a full squad on the park.

A strong first quarter saw plenty of shots on goal for the home side, but wayward kicking prevented them putting their dominance on the scoreboard - which had thankfully decided to work after briefly throwing a hissy fit and quitting pre-game. Kate Lucas was in the timekeepers booth at the time, so I assume she did something and will be fined accordingly.

Monday After Women.jpg

Today was quality over quantity for Gemma Hargreaves, as she stepped up and showed everyone how it’s done when she slotted the Animalette’s first goal from the boundary line, before an inspirational and courageous effort to spoil saw her check out of the game and into the hospital. Thankfully she’s cleared of serious damage.

Madeline did what all coaches love from their ruck, pushing forward and kicking a great goal in the 2nd quarter. It took until the final quarter before another goal was scored, when Shelby was rewarded for running hard off the ball all day by adding her name to scoresheet, and Rhiannon steadied the ship after a few late goals to the away side.

Meanwhile around the ground, the Animalettes attack on the ball was evident with some great tackling. A few South Melbourne girls will be glad for the week off next weekend after making the rookie mistake of picking up the ball within 10 metres of Rhi, who buried more people into the ground than an undertaker working overtime. Shannon demonstrated her uncanny Dustin Martin impression with a big “don’t argue” and plenty of damaging runs with ball. Charlotte took a Page out of Shannon’s book with some brilliant run and long kicking, following on from her goal kicking heroics from the previous week. Soraya’s return from injury had everyone on the bench averting their eyes every time she charged into a contest, while Jess Evans quelled their forward momentum in her customary spot behind the contest, and added a desperate chase to touch a shot on the line in the last quarter.

Some of the standouts of the day came from the defensive line, with Monika and Captain Kate Versace both played an absolute blinder. Repeated efforts to cut off the delivery to their opponents and then drive the ball forward paired with solid tackling saw both girls among the players player votes. The South Melbourne forwards must have felt like they were kicking against a brick wall – if they made it past those two, Sally Hood attacked the footy hard and delivered smoothly to a teammate 30 metres back the other way. Caroline and Bridget both played well through the middle, constantly being present around contests and closing down opponents if the ball was turned over. Fenno might need to get nametags for the Harris girls, after Shannon pulled some twin magic and sneaked her way back out at the start of the second quarter instead of Sheridan - hope I got that the right way around!

At the end of the day, the final score probably didn’t do justice to a strong and fairly consistent effort by the home side, who take third place on the ladder with their second win. A weeks break, then on to a massive clash with red hot Preston Bullants in a rare 2pm home game.

Search for stability still on ahead of UHS-vu clash

The Animals have been forced into more changes ahead of our Round 3 clash with UHS-VU at home.

Six changes in total have been made from the team who knocked off Powerhouse AFC in atrocious conditions last Saturday by the beach, with three of them forced.

The biggest change is the loss of captain Chris Beluszar, who will miss the game due to personal reasons. His spot at the top of the arc will be taken by Alex McDougal. Beluszar is the Animals second-highest goalkicker so far after two rounds with four majors.

Alex Lawson will make his senior debut for the Animals on the wing, coming in to replace last week's debutant in Matt Hill. It's one of 5 changes in the middle of the ground, with Michael Davis moving back into the middle after playing a starring role last weekend for the Animals down back.

Nathan Bird is the only survivor in the middle from last weeks game after his stellar performance in the wet, and he will look to link up with the hard running of Paul Baranello who returns after missing last week.

First choice ruckman Jonathan Greensides will be forced to sit this week out, with his omission seeing Matthew Hooks getting his first taste of senior football with ESL. Hooks will come off the bench to provide ruck relief.

The back 3 has also been completely overhauled from last week, despite the strong performance. Michael Davis as mentioned above has moved back up the ground, with Nathan Baranello moving to a back flank. Sam Argus was named to start at Fullback but was a late withdrawal for the Animals, with Sam Davis filling in superbly. Argus has been named again at Fullback, with James Quirk and Chris Lowther named in the pockets as they were in Round 1, with their returns forcing Tom Thorn and Joden Crothers out of the 22.

Senior Coach Jason Fennell commented last night about the need to expect the unexpected against the boys from Brens Oval. UHS-VU are one of three sides undefeated in Division 2 this year, after just creeping past St.Johns in round 1 before comprehensively handling Yarra Valley last weekend in poor conditions.

Fennell also commented about the need for the team to make it uncomfortable for teams to come to Burwood, and for them to ensure they handle teams on their own deck. 

It's been a while since the two teams have met, with the last clash occurring in 2015 when the Animals tore the game apart winning by 89 points on their way to an undefeated Division 3 regular season. 9 Animals who lined up that day will run out again on Saturday.

Team Announcement Seniors Rd 3 vs UHSVU.jpg

Fresh faces injected for powerhouse trip

Seven changes have been made to the Emmaus St. Leo's senior team ahead of the trip to Powerhouse AFC this weekend, with two debuts handed out in the process.

Kieran Mair and Matt Hill will make their senior debuts for the Animals on either wing, looking to add some youthful pace to the outside run game.

Hill, who joined the Animals from Tasmania, kicked a goal and was one of the best on ground for the Animals reserve side in a losing effort, shaking off a preseason injury to put in an impressive showing against a much classier outfit.

Mair, from the border town of Corowa, was also well represented in the reserves loss last weekend, applying plenty of forward 50 pressure to frustrate opposition defenders whilst they tried to clear the 50.

Injuries have forced the majority of the changes for the Animals this weekend, but none of those affected are expected to be missing long term from the selection process, whilst club stalwart Paul Baranello will miss due to family committments and is expected to be fully available for Rd 3.

Returning from a preseason injury and keeping the sibling quota running will be Harry Davis, who joins brother Michael in the backline. He fills the spot vacated by Nathan Baranello who will start deeper for the Animals to provide deeper running out of the 50.

The backline changes don't stop there, with Baxter Newbegin moving to CHB after a good showing in Rd 1 at Fullback, with Sammy Argus making his way into the key defender role.

Replacing Paul Baranello in the forward line is Lawrence Virgo, who played superbly for the reserves last week, with Nick Glanville moving off the bench and into the rejigged forward line, with Steven Downie and Alex McDougal swapping roles, and captain Chris Beluszar moving off the flank and into a key forward role.

Sean Bourke and Sean Howard move onto the bench, where senior coach Jason Fennell will be hoping to keep his full complement running for the whole match after a horror start to the season rotation wise.

"We were down rotations early and it threw out the whole gameplan. Blokes were gassed due to the lack of rotations and it's not how you want to start the season."

A big defensive effort will be required in Round 2, after Powerhouse kicked 15 goals in a game where they conceded 176 points. Forward Luke Stubbs kicked 7 that day, with Sammy Argus facing a big challenge to shut down the danger forward who kicked the majority of the Powehouse score.

"We'll need to be switched on early" said Fennell last night at team selection. "They scored a lot in a high scoring match and they won't be afraid to engage in a shootout if needs be".

Meanwhile the size of the score conceded will mean key forwards Tom Birkett and Chris Beluszar will be looking to double down on the high scoring. Both kicked 4 and 3 goals respectively last week and will be looking to fill their boots where possible by the bay.

Powerhouse AFC vs Emmaus St. Leo's
Seniors: 2pm
Reserves: 11.40am

IN: H.Davis, K.Mair, S.Argus, L.Virgo, M.Hill, S.Bourke, S.Howard, M.Hill
OUT: R.Luehman, M.Hawa, P.Baranello, J. Gannon, J.Quirk, C.Lowther, J.Douthat

Team Announcement Seniors Rd 2 @ PAFC.jpg

Weekend wrap up - round 1

Seniors - St.Leos fast start not quite enough
Matt Hill

An exciting closing game to round one fixtures at Bennetswood Reserve was delivered between Emmaus St.Leos and Melbourne High School Old Boys senior sides. With St.Leo’s narrowly missing out on finals last year and Melbourne High finishing in third position it was set up to be a stimulating encounter.

St.Leo’s were on fire early in the first having 8 scoring shots and plenty of forward fifty entries but were only able to convert their first quarter supremacy into three goals to take a 21 point lead at the first change. The second was highly contested and very free flowing with 11 goals kicked between the two sides. Melbourne High piled on the goals kicking seven for the term to St.Leo’s three, which saw the home side hold on to a slender 3 point lead at the main break.

In the third, Melbourne High continued on their superiority from the second quarter and kicked a further five goals and outscored St.Leos by 20 points in the premiership quarter to assert the dominance and set St.Leo’s a challenge in the last if they were to get off to a winning start for the season. In the last stanza, it was another goal blitz with St.Leo’s kicking five majors for the term but that wasn’t enough to match Melbourne High’s seven goals. Unfortunately for the Animals, Melbourne High ran out 31-point winners of the opening clash of the season. 

There were numerous upsides to be taken from the loss, which will be used as a base during the week at training for their round 2 clash against Powerhouse AFC away. Nathan Bird was a standout along with Baxter Newbegin, club legend Nathan Baranello, Daniel Hill and club debutant Nic Glanville. Thomas Birkett was dominant down forward kicking four goals and partnered up with club captain Chris Beluszar who was as influential as always marking anything that came his way and hence resulting in three majors for the skipper. Glanville and Michael Davis booted 2 majors each for St.Leo’s and Raymond Kuhnell and Hill kicked singles to round out St.Leo’s goal kickers.

RESERVES - Tough start for Animals
Matt Hill

It was a tough first day back at the office for the Emmaus St.Leo’s reserves at home against Melbourne High School Old Boys, going down by 85 points.

Taking on a strong Melbourne High side that had featured in the last three grand finals, it was always going to be a tough encounter for the Animals. However, with multiple debutants to the club only just starting to learn how every member of the team plays, the Animals can only move forward from here and hopefully get on the winners list in round 2.

The Animals were dominated in the opening quarter due to a well structred Melbourne High midfield which was critical to their early dominance and 5 first quarter goals. Despite their superiority early, St.Leo’s got the perfect start through young gun Louis Fasolino, who kicked the first goal of the season against the flow. From there though Melbourne were far slicker, quicker, and used the ball
better which resulted in their strong 29-point lead going into the first break.

In the second, it was much the same with Melbourne having 11 scoring shots which resulted in another 5 goals and a massive 62-point lead at half time.

In the third and fourth St.Leo’s started to get their game together with some good passages of play with help set up 2 goals in the third and a further 2 majors in the last. Big man and Irish import Matthew Hooks (in his debut game of Australian Rules Football) was outstanding in the ruck all day and constantly asserted his presence at each contest. The Irish man, whilst still learning facets of the game was incredible with some dominant tackling which sent shivers down the spines of the opposition. For his efforts during the game, he was rightfully rewarded and slotted his first ever goal with a set shot about 35 metres out on the boundary line. Hooks will certainly be one to watch out for this season as once he starts to fine tune some of his skills and learn more about the game, and will be a hard man to stop.

Lawrence Virgo, Sean Howard, Thomas Buick and Sam Argus also had solid games and starts to their season. Virgo, was dominant in the middle for St.Leo’s and led from the front in trying to get some momentum for the home side. He found plenty of the ball and was influential all around the ground. Howard, another debutant to the club was important throughout the midfield and when he went forward for the Animals and was rewarded with a goal for his efforts. Buick was vital across the half- back line foiling multiple of Melbourne High’s attacking movements and also helped set up many of St.Leo’s forward ball movements. Argus, played a crucial role at full back doing his absolute best to prevent the opposition from scoring.

Whilst at times it was hard to stop Melbourne’s forward from scoring and taking marks due to their speed and good ball movement, without Argus down back it could have been a much uglier score line.

Monday after score graphic Reserves.jpg

Overall, it wasn’t the start the Animals wanted for the season but with a lot of fresh faces down at the club and a lot of positives and learning opportunities taken from the game, the Animals will look to bounce back in round 2 when they take on Powerhouse AFC away next weekend.


Women - Debut win for Animalettes
Lachlan Chapman

There was a touch of excitement in the air as the Animalettes made their long awaited debit in the VAFA competition against Westbourne Grammarians, with the excitement leading to a resounding debut victory.

ESL got off to the perfect start as Soraya Jeanes got the first goal of the season with a well executed set shot. I'd give the celebration a 7/10 so there's room for improvement. The Doctor was on standby for Shannon Danckert, who had a case of leather poisoning from getting so much of the ball. Danckert's skill and finesse were unmatched in the middle as she spun her way around multiple players all day to rack up a BOG performance. Alex 'Buckets' O'Sullivan provided a good target, showing a clear pair of hands to easily lead everyone on ground in the marks tally. Shelby 'Ronaldo' Lonie then ended the quarter by showcasing her soccer skills with a nice finish off the ground to end the quarter on a high for the debutants. 

Westbourne got a bit of a run on early in the 2nd Quarter but our backline held strong with Monika Walters and Brooke Bishop the generals in the backline. Rhiannon Stute played another blinding quarter, breaking tackles with ease while Rom Cadornigara proved she didn't skip leg day in the gym with her lightning speed. Sammy 'Instagram Famous' Maree continuing the great family legacy with the Animals whilst Amy 'Goalsneak' Ronchi was at it again with a calming goal before the long break. Jess Evans was not quiet in letting the umpire, former Hawthorn VFL player Russell Morris, know her thoughts and thought she should make her own umpiring calls, while poor Rhi was on the receiving end of a 'Suenami' falcon.

A bit of confusing to start the 2nd half, with Shanelle Blachford losing her mouthguard which left her distressed at the thought of her losing that colgate smile. There was no confusion on the field however, as the girls played quality Animals Footy led in the midfield by Elise Miller and Madeline Hogan, who still played well even with a busted hand. Sally Hood also stood up in the backline, showing razor like precision with her tackling.

Unfortunately the low point of the day was a leg injury suffered by Claire Anderson, who was chaired of by members of the Animals Senior team at 3 quarter time. Fingers crossed her scans come back with good.

A few nervous moments at the start of the last quarter, but as per the usual the Animalettes stuck to the task. I can never tell them apart but I could tell the Harris girls Sheridan and Shannon were getting plenty of the ball and having a big presence vocally in the forward line. Sam Hogarth also had a great start to life in football, considering she only started playing the sport two weeks earlier. Bridget Monaghan was taking lots of great marks in the forward half, which was followed up by some average kicking (Coach Roy's words not mine) whole Kate 'Smiling Assassin' Versace was at it again, getting on the scoreboard to help the animals pull away for a comprehensive win.

Whilst there was some confusion with the words to the club song, we got there in the end, and it was followed by a solid rendition of 'Happy Birthday' to Sarah Stenhouse. 

Four to debut for animals against unicorns

It will be a day to remember for four men tomorrow who are set to be inducted as Senior players for ESLOCFC, with the team to take the field in Round 1 announced last night in front of a raucous group inside the new clubrooms.

Baxter Newbeign, Nathan Bird, Reece Luehman, and Nick Glanville will run out in the double blues for the first time tomorrow after making the cut. They will also be joined by milestone man Miguel Hawa.

Newbeign has been handed the task of key defender in his first match, and will be looking to shut down the potent forward line of the Unicorns, who will be out for a fast start after losing the Minor Semi-Final in 2017.

Luehman has been tasked with being the main link to the forward line in Round 1, an important task against a team who only conceded a miserly average of 68 points per match in 2017.

For Nathan Bird, the kid from the tiny town of Cohuna, there will be no soft entry into VAFA football as he joins a star-studded middle for the Animals which is set to cause havoc for the rest of the Division in 2018. 

Hawa and Glanville will start from the bench, where it will be expected both will come on and change the game early. Hawa, in his 100th match, will provide much needed ruck support, whilst Glanville is set to provide some extra spark in the forward line.

First bounce is at 2.10pm at the newly redeveloped Bennettswood Reserve at Deakin University's Burwood campus, with the reserves playing before hand at 11.40am.

Team Announcement Seniors Rd 1 vs MHSOB.jpg

animalettes announce first ever female leadership group

Announcement graphic.jpg
Sue Fearn-Wannan.jpg

Emmaus St. Leo’s is proud to announce its first ever Female leadership group, who will be charged with leading out our first ever official female side this weekend. A team which has been years in the planning will be rolled out with much fanfare when they kick off the 2018 season for ESLOCFC on Saturday at Bennettswood Reserve.

Taking the honour of being our first womens captain is Sue Fearn-Wannan, who is excited to be bestowed the honour to lead the team around the park.

I’m really keen to help lead this great group of players in their first season so that we can firstly enjoy Footy together.”

“But also, we have the opportunity to be pioneers at this club, to set up a fantastic culture of enthusiasm, respect and team work.”

Surrounding Fearn-Wannan is a group of 3 women who will be fierce competitors on the field as well as fantastic leaders in Sally Hood, Gemma Hargreaves, and Kate Lucas.

Hood could not contain her excitement about the upcoming season, and this weekend’s fixture, with her praise glowing in the team assembled.

I think we have a really great bunch of girls, coming from a wide range of different sports, with each one bringing a different element to the game.”

“I’m super excited to see how we pull together as a team and what we can achieve in our first year”

In charge of the whiteboard in 2018 will be Roy Fenton. Fenton took charge of the exhibition game last season after initially just coming to training to help out, and ended up being chosen as the inaugural coach for the season.

Speaking at last night’s season launch dinner, Fenton said the week he was chosen as coach was one of the better ones in his life.

“I interviewed for the job. Then in the following week I had Richmond win the AFL, the Storm win the NRL, and then I got selected as the coach for the team. It was definitely a good time”.

“The group of girls we have is amazing, and I’m looking forward to what the season has in store”

Whatever the season does have in store for the Animalettes, one thing is certain, with Kate Lucas, or KL as she’s called, asserting the mantra the team will live by.

“Teamwork makes the dream work”

The women will kick the season off with a clash against Westbourne Grammarians, and it will be the first of 6 triple header weekends this season.

Emmaus St. Leo’s vs Westbourne Grammarians
Bennettswood Reserve – 9.20am

100 Game milestone for miguel hawa

Emmaus St. Leo’s big man Miguel Hawa will play his 100th game for the club this Saturday when the Animals open their season against MHSOB at the newly redeveloped Bennettswood Reserve. Hawa, starting his 9th year with ESLOCFC, won the “Most Improved Player” for the Reserves in 2012 and played in two finals as well.

Upon learning of the upcoming milestone, and ensuring we got his “good side” for the photo, Miguel expressed his love for the club and what it did for him.


“Emmaus St. Leo’s meant a lot for me during my early 20's, it taught me a lot about committing myself to the footy club at an early age and really loving the sport of AFL.”

“I am privileged to wear the blue and blue every Saturday during my years as a senior footballer, and I couldn't have been at a better club.”

The bloke they call “Miggsy” is well revered around the club as well, with Senior captain Chris Beluszar glowing in his praise of Hawa’s presence both on and off the field.

“Miggsy started at the club in under 19s and has gone from a predominant reserves player to a vital utility player in the seniors - can play forward or back and is fantastic pinch hitting in the ruck where his big frame and determination for the footy is best used.”

“He’s heard from everywhere on the ground both gameday and training.... not all of it making complete sense but we absolutely love him anyway.”

Hawa made his club debut in 2010 for the u/19’s against Fitzroy, and his first Senior game came in 2012 against Therry Penola, a game he remembers fondly.

“My first senior game was with Ash Duncan, I remember this because I had gastro 3 days prior it and it being my first game i wanted to play. Easily said than done, I was terrible. Either way I wanted to be able to experience what it was to play ones footy.”

Hawa would go on to experience more senior football, and the Animals run to the Grand Final in 2015 featured Miguel heavily, a time he looks back on memorably.

“My best memories with ESL were probably my first proper crack at seniors in 2015, i had the chance to show case my skills as a second ruckman and sometimes an onballer/forward, I was happy to fulfil any role.”

It’s a big year for the Animals and 2018, and Hawa is ready to throw everything at it to further the cause for promotion.

“Hopefully I can get a lot fitter and prove I can be more damaging this year and play the role the team needs.”

2018 emmaus st. leo's leadership announcement

Announcement graphic.jpg

Emmaus St. Leo’s is excited to announce the 2018 leadership groups for the First Team and Reserves.

Leading the first team around the park in 2018 will be Chris Beluszar, who enters his 12th year with the Animals. Beluszar played 13 games in the 2017, and was part of the BOG votes in seven of those appearances.

It’s a good start to 2018 for the man they call “Foxy”, who will play his 150th game for the Animals in 2018.

Speaking about his appointment, Beluszar reflected about how it took just one season of Animals football to get him hooked.

Chris Beluszar - Senior's Captain

“I came to Emmaus St Leo’s over a decade ago for a kick with my mates and play a season of footy but always with the intention of returning to representative basketball after a fun and different year. It didn’t take long at all to see what a great club and culture I’d stumbled across, the welcomeness and camaraderie was second to none of any other sporting club or organisation I’d been involved in.”

The gravity of the appointment is not lost on Beluszar, knowing what it means not only for him but his family.

“To be named Captain of a club that I hold in such high regard is a huge honour for myself and also my family as the Beluszar name will go up there alongside legends of the club.”

“When I looked back on my teammates and leaders past and present that have had an impact on me, not only in footy but off field as well, that’s what motivated me to accept the role and put everything into it so that hopefully in 10 years time there is someone else echoing these words that’s had a similar experience as I have.”

Joining Beluszar in leading the senior Animals on the field will be his two vice captains in Harry Davis and Jon Kapiniaris.

Davis is in his 3rd year with the Animals, and also featured in the BOG votes seven times last season, and will also take on a role in organising the club’s Mother’s Day Lunch.

But for Harry, the playing group is why he fronts up on Saturday to don the Two Blues.

“My favourite thing about Emmaus St. Leo’s is the feeling of inclusiveness you get every time you walk in the door. From my first day at the club to now being elected as a vice captain, I have never felt out of place and this has allowed me to always have a fun time whenever I am out there playing or training. The club is built on good people, there are no ego's which take over the playing group but instead all that exists is a group of blokes (and now ladies) who all have the same goal, to get down to the club and have a bit of fun with their mates.”

Kapiniaris will entering his 9th year and is looking to shake what has been a torrid run of injuries since he joined the leadership group in 2015.

"'I'm particularly grateful to get selected given my lack of on-field presence over the last few years through injury. It is a real privilege to be selected again in 2018."

In what was a common theme among the recently voted leaders, the clubs outstanding culture was praised by Jon.

"I can't speak highly enough about the Club. The inclusive culture, the long serving legends (Doc, OD) and the hard working committee/playing group. Looking forward to a big year!"

 Steve Jones - Reserves Captain

Steve Jones - Reserves Captain

Meanwhile Steve Jones has been appointed captain of the Reserves side for the 2018 season, with his deputies to be Tom Coleman and Shamus Nash.

Jones has been with the club since 2013 when he joined from Division 1 club Ivanhoe AFC. Jones has since played 80 games with the Animals and been an integral part of the Reserves team in that period, only missing 4 games over the last 3 seasons.

Jones was overjoyed with his appointment, repeating the admiration of the club culture at both levels.

“I am honoured to be voted captain of the Reserves for the 2018 season. I could not be prouder of the club and culture that has been achieved at Emmaus St Leo’s over the years.”

Coleman is entering his 2nd year with the animals, only managing seven games for the twos last season, while Nash enters his 3rd season.

The appointment is a chance for Tom Coleman to give back to the Animals, after a horror run with injury last year.

“I’m pleased to be a leader of a club that supported me through injuries and excited to put my leadership skills to the test.”

The man called “Tiny” then summed up the culture at the Animals in the only way he knew how.

“St Leo’s to me means mateship, whether it’s support in rough times or just a need to regularly run off your hangover.”

For Shamus Nash however, the club takes on a bigger role for him due to his personal situation.

“Having most of my family 7 hours away in Mildura, St Leo’s has become an amazing support network for me personally for the past 3 years. Having genuine people around you and being able to break away from the university environment has been invaluable.”

Nash also outlined where he plans to improve in 2018, with a view to also improve the team.

“My aim this year is to improve the atmosphere around the reserves team. I want to not only grow myself as a leader, but encourage my teammates to become leaders around the club as well.”

ESLOCFC will open their 2018 season when we host MHSOB on April 7 at Bennettswood Reserve. Jones will lead his Reserve team out at 11.40am, whilst Beluszar and his Senior team will start at 2pm. The women will play their first official game as a side to kick it all off at 9.20am when they host Westbourne Grammarians.

Emmaus St. Leo’s vs MHSOB
Bennettswood Reserve, Burwood
Seniors: 2pm
Reserves: 11.40am

Womens: 9.20am

2018 VAFA Division 2 season

We are only a couple of weeks away from first bounce, and the team is ramping up preparations ahead of our opening clash against MHSOB at Bennettswood Reserve on April 7. Head over to the Fixtures and Results page to ensure you can mark off all the dates 

Stay tuned for some exciting announcements in the upcoming weeks.

Deakin University Affiliation

With much excitement, the Club entered into a formal agreement with Deakin University during the pre-season build-up earlier this year.  Deakin University is a key sponsor of the Club for 2017.  And with the agreement in place, the Club can use Deakin University’s name and the logo in its promotions and player recruitment.  The Club had an active presence on the Burwood campus during Orientation Week in February, and was successful in attracting a strong group of Deakin students as players to the seniors team.  Many of these players are students from country Victoria, living in Deakin’s residential accommodation.  Interestingly, as described further below, women students at Deakin also approached the Club’s recruitment stall, asking about opportunities for playing women’s football.


The Club is pleased to continue it relationships with its loyal and valued sponsors within the community as well as welcoming some new sponsors. Listed below are the wonderful businesses who help support your Animals in 2018

·       Deakin University Burwood

·       Beretta's Liquor

·       Camberwell Sports and Spinal Medicine

·       Goodness Gracious Café in Camberwell

·       Toyota Material Handling

·       Integrated Protective Services

·       Cheeta Recovery

·       Kosdown Printing

·       Sofia’s Restaurant Burwood

·       A-Team Carpentry

·       The Posy Story – for flower delivery in Melbourne

.       Emmaus College

·       Ray White Burwood

·       Anytime Fitness Burwood

.       Graham Watt - State MP for Burwood

.       Grill'd

Club Development

Whitehorse City Council is currently building a new pavilion and change room facilities at the Bennettswood Reserve.  The new facilities are scheduled to open well in time for the 2018 football season.  The Club’s planned expansion into women’s football in 2018 is made possible by this major upgrade.  And in fact, the Club is also assessing the possibility of introducing a development team of younger players (under 22 years) in 2018.

The Club is working closely with Council in the planning and fit-out of the new facilities.  Additionally, the Club, together with the Deakin Cricket Club, is funding the installation of a new electronic scoreboard, which will modernise and enhance the Bennettswood Reserve sports facilities.