Men face early season crossroads

Men face early season crossroads

Very rarely has a team’s fifth game of the year meant as much as it does for the two Animals Men’s sides. Both sit at 2-2 for the season, in third position on their respective ladders, and both have made wholesale changes ahead of a visit from the VAFA’s far-most western side in Westbourne Grammarians, but there is where the similarities end.

The Reserves were shocked by Richmond, and then were unable to chase down Aquinas. Last week however the Reserves donned the pink for the first time ever and in a solid display were able to easily account for Manningham at home, and now take some momentum into a game against a much maligned Westbourne side which is yet to crack 40 in their reserves.

The Ressies see wholesale channges made, with all goalkickers from the previous win not playing this weekend. Captains Steve Jones and Adam Atharone, along with deputy Nic Glanville will also be sitting this weeks clash, with Jason Schinck grabbing the leadership role this weekend.

Animals Debuts have been handed to Lachlan McIntosh and Eddie Bell, whilst Miguel Hawa features for the first time in 2019 since injury at Bulleen-Templestowe before the Queens Birthday weekend last year.

Up front, Tom Birkett returns back to the Animals fold as does Connor Hoetzel. Whilst Tom Wales and Sean Howard get a run through the middle.

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Meanwhile in the seniors, momentum stalled despite the scoring prowess returning last week. Teams that kick 128 don’t usually go down by 4 goals, then again, that will happen when you concede 151. Manningham’s forward line put the Animals to the sword on #PinkSaturday with an immediate answer every time Leo’s looked to launch back in to the game.

Westbourne will provide a new test, with the men from the west on a two game win streak after starting the season uncharacteristically poor. But a statement win last week against Canterbury in the first home game of 2019 have the Warriors back on track and looking to make it 3.

Reece Luehman starts down back this week, but outside of that Ian Ledder holds his faith in his back 6. Through the middle Jonathan O’Connor gets a starting run in the ruck, whilst Brent Simons, Paul Baranello, and Hugh Schaeche come together in a formidable middle.

Up front Kevin Maloney will be looking to personally deliver a bag full, whilst Tom Shannon also makes his way back into the side.

On the bench, Ray Kuhnell’s efforts in the 2’s have seen him promoted to a familiar role back with the senior side, where his attack on the football will be crucial against a Westbourne side known for their hard ball abilities.

Leo's getting "hamped" up before Rovers clash

Leo's getting "hamped" up before Rovers clash

For the second weekend in a row, Bennettswood Reserve is going to be full of Animals with another triple header for Emmaus St Leo’s. After only one out of three wins last Saturday, the coming games gives the club the opportunity to get back on the right track collectively on field. For Emmaus St Leo’s women’s team, their last game was arguably not one of their best, with most players agreeing that they were lacking in most areas.

But it’s a whole new weekend, and the Animalettes are facing the Hampton Rovers, who will be smarting after giving Prahran Assumption their first win of the season. Sitting on the same points but with a superior percentage, Hampton are in the 4 and Emmaus St Leo’s are 6th. There’s a huge opportunity this weekend to begin to cement a top 4 spot with a convincing win.

For the first time this season, the Animalettes are struggling with numbers, with only one player named on the bench. There will be a lot of tired bodies by the end of Saturday’s game. Starting in the backline is Bec Herne, Claire Anderson and Sam Bridgland, with Dee Burden, Kayla Hetherington and Shino Walsh providing support on the halfback line. In the centre is Ashleigh Morley, Grace de Cesare and Jess Dawson, and Maddy Hogan, Tara Ingham and Shellby Lonie following. One of the consistencies of the Animalettes is the four-man half-forward line, and this weekend is no different as Sam Hogarth, Sheridan Harris, Bridget Monaghan and Amy Ronchi fill those spots. Delaney Morvell and Shannon Harris will both start deep. Named on the bench is Kate Fletcher. Notable outs include captain Sally Hood, Rhiannon Stute and Kate Lucas, who are all injured, and the likes of vice-captain Shanelle Blachford, and Brooke Chapman unavailable for selection.

The game on Saturday will be a huge test for the Animalettes. They have the skills, and they have the passion and belief to win. Training has shown really impressive signs and they’ll look to translate that to game day. Is naming the Harris twins to both start likely to be a good luck charm? Will the lack of numbers on the bench inspire some gameday heroics? Bennettswood Reserve at 9.20am is the place to be this Saturday to find out as Emmaus St Leo’s women’s team takes on the Hampton Rovers. Stick around to watch the men’s teams take on the Westbourne Grammarians for what is hopefully another day of three wins out of three games!

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Slow start sees Animals stumble on #PinkSaturday

Slow start sees Animals stumble on #PinkSaturday

Despite only one of three teams coming away victorious at home on Mother’s Day weekend, it’s the whole Emmaus St Leo’s Football Club who are the real winners, with another hugely successful ladies’ luncheon being the bright spot of the day. But out on the football field, in front of what was a continuously growing crowd as the morning wore on, the Animalettes were gritting out another hard-to-swallow loss against Oakleigh.

It’s the slow starts that are becoming somewhat of a trademark for the Animalettes, with Head Coach Roy Fenton lamenting that ‘we let Oakleigh score early in the game. It took til half way through the second quarter to get going.’ Oakleigh had the lead all game, the final scoreboard reading 4.8.32 to the Animalettes’ 1.7.13 even with some typical Animals forward pressure in moments of the game.

But it wasn’t all bad news despite the final scoreline, with Grace de Cesare having an incredible first game and Claire Anderson once again cementing her spot in the backline. Amy Ronchi kicked the only Animalettes goal in the second quarter, seemingly unable to, again, shake her ‘Goalsneak’ nickname as she slotted the ball through the sticks from a tight contest in the square. Silent assassin Tara Ingham lined up for a few shots on goal after earning the right to, unfortunately missing to the left. In wet-ish and dewy conditions for most of the day, Emmaus St Leo’s women’s team took some strong grabs and Shellby Lonie finished the game with physical proof of the hard-fought efforts she’d produced with an already-bruising left eye. Other notable players include Dee Burden off halfback who could be backed in to win the ball every time she was near it, and Maddy Hogan played what was arguably one of her best games, competing well in the ruck.

Fenton fully believes that if the Animalettes can put together 4 quarters of football and be first to the ball, they can defeat anyone. He was impressed with how much better the second half was as his team had most of the play but were unfortunately unable to score but stated that ‘it’s great to see the new players playing some good footy.’ He’s not wrong, with the new faces for Emmaus St Leo’s women’s team being amongst the best players on the ground every week.

Emmaus St Leo’s are staying home again this weekend, with the Animalettes hosting as the Hampton Rovers come over to Bennettswood Reserve for a first-time visit and the men’s teams taking on the Westbourne Grammarians. Triple headers always provide the best club atmosphere and are always the perfect opportunity to show your support for all your favourite Animals so get down to the ground for a 9.20am start and a big day!

- Sheridan Harris

Pink Animals ready to shine on showcase fixture

The Animals return home to Bennettswood Reserve this week where it will be bathed in a sea of pink as ALL THREE sides will be donning the pink guernseys in support of the BCNA

This is the fourth year running of the event and it keeps getting bigger and better with lots happening off the field including a ladies luncheon, silent auction and many more fundraising activities all for a great cause

The reserves side are looking to bounce back after two narrow losses against the top two sides and are looking to regain some momentum after slipping to 4th position, albeit still with the best current percentage in the competition (164.54%)

The boys will have a lot to play for and will be looking to leapfrog Manningham who sit just above us on the ladder in 3rd  position

Cameron Gardner and Bailey Hunt make their debuts and there are many returning faces

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Likewise the senior side will be looking to atone for a disappointing day out at Aquinas College and Sam Argus, Jesse Collins, Jack Hunt  and Hugh Schaeche are all welcome additions back into the senior side. Chook O’Connor comes in for his first senior game of 2019 as Big Kev is out on the sidelines

It’s a huge game for the boys not only for the occasion but also as they have the chance to jump up into 2nd spot with a win, so expect the heat to be on right from the first bounce

The 3 Davis brothers (Harry, Sam and Michael) are ones to watch as they always rise to the occasion on this day as the Davis family have been instrumental figures in making the Mothers Day game possible

All players are encouraged to come down and support the women who start the day off at 9:20AM with the Men’s Reserves and Seniors to follow in what will be a fantastic day for the club with hopefully 3 wins to celebrate

It is the highlight of the Animals Home and Away Fixture so if you’re not sure make sure to get on down to Bennettswood (Deakin University) for a great atmosphere

Women look to bounce back on #PinkSaturday

After a weekend to arguably forget, Emmaus St Leo’s will be looking to the coming weekend for a chance to regroup as a club. This Saturday marks the fourth year running for the Mother’s Day ladies’ luncheon event, with all proceeds going directly to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, a cause dear to the hearts of so many Animals. It’s also the second year of the triple header that accompanies the ladies’ luncheon, with all three teams running out in pink jumpers this year in support. Last weekend, the focus wasn’t on the scoreboard for Emmaus St Leo’s women’s team, with the fundamentals being the key factor in having the opportunity to walk off the ground with their heads high despite a loss.

This Saturday, the Animalettes face Oakleigh, a team new to Division 3. Their 2-point win against Swinburne University last weekend should have them have them coming into the game the favourites, given that it shot them up to 4th on the ladder, and knocking Emmaus St Leo’s down to 5th, but it doesn’t. Both teams sit on 8 points, with Oakleigh only up due to a superior percentage of 41.50% to Emmaus St Leo’s 38.16%. The Animalettes will be looking for some sort of redemption, and be aiming to start off the weekend right for the ladies’ luncheon.

It’s round 5 but Emmaus St Leo’s women’s team is still debuting players, with Grace de Cesare getting her first opportunity to don the blue and blue jumper on the only weekend when players run out in pink! Deep in the backline is the formidable trio of Brooke Chapman, Claire Anderson and Sam Bridgland with Bec Herne, Kayla Hetherington and Dee Burden providing support at halfback. In the centre, Jess Dawson, Rhiannon Stute and de Cesare will be joined by Maddy Hogan, Shanelle Blachford and Tara Ingham onball. With coaches sticking to a formula that works, the half-forward line consists of Amy Ronchi, Sally Hood, Shellby Lonie, and Kate Lucas, as Bridget Monaghan and Shannon Harris will both start deep in the forward 50. Rounding out the bench is Paige Nash who is hopefully back from a stint in the VFLW, Sheridan Harris, Delaney Morvell, Sarah Smith, Sam Hogarth, and Ashleigh Morley. Named emergencies are Kate Fletcher and Cassy Dutton.

The ladies’ luncheon event that Emmaus St Leo’s holds every year provides the biggest opportunity for the club itself to show how much of a family it really is. The Animalettes will look to get a fast start on a team only in the top 4 by a small percentage. Will the pink jumpers be a lucky charm? Can Emmaus St Leo’s women’s team jump ahead on the ladder and improve their percentage? Get down to Bennettswood Reserve this Saturday for what will be an incredible day, with wins on the scoreboards only being bonuses, and find out. First bounce is at 9.20, and stick around to see the men’s teams take on Manningham!

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The story behind the Emmaus St. Leo's Ladies Luncheon

The story behind the Emmaus St. Leo's Ladies Luncheon

If you were to walk into the Emmaus St Leo’s Football Club for the first time, you’d be pretty unlucky if you didn’t run into at least one of the Davis men. The Davis family, consisting of father Glen, and his three sons, Michael, Harry, and Sam, are dedicated and some of the most passionate people you’ll ever know. Glen is vice-president of the club, and both Michael and Harry are members of the committee, with Harry heading the social committee as well, and all three boys play such pivotal roles on the field during game days and on training nights.

You would only have to spend a few minutes with Emmaus St Leo’s to see that family, blood or not, is quite evidently a huge part of its identity, with the Davis’ being only one of the families who pull on the blue and blue, so it only makes sense that there’s a closer-to-home reason for holding an event such as the upcoming ladies’ luncheon. In early 2015, the Davis’ lost a hugely important member of both their family and the Animals family in Cathy Davis, after a long and brave battle with breast cancer. A fantastic mother and wife, Cathy never got to see all three of her sons take the football field together, despite always being involved in their football careers as a driver and supporter who probably saw her boys play 300+ games collectively, occasionally helping out with canteen duties and social functions. Being involved with the club was huge source of enjoyment for Cathy because of the social side, given that she loved hosting parties and get-togethers and her door was always open for anybody who needed someone to listen. Her sons know that this event would have been right down her alley.

For Sam Davis, the youngest of the three Davis boys, running out in the pink jumpers and playing footy with his brothers on such an emotional day is, for him, one of the most special things he has ever done in his life. He knows that his mum would have loved the ladies’ luncheon event and would be incredibly proud of everyone who has been involved with its organisation. The support that the cause receives from both Emmaus St Leo’s and the broader community as a whole has the Davis family feeling grateful, and it’s something they will hold dear for the rest of their lives. A moment that sticks out for Glen after losing his wife is proudly witnessing Harry decide that he had two options after losing his mum, he could either do nothing or he could actively do something for the breast cancer community. Quite obviously, he picked the latter and Glen could not be prouder of the way everybody has rallied around both his family and the cause.

Cathy’s passing was the main source of inspiration to do good for the breast cancer community, and this event aims to not only honour her, but all those women out there who are unfortunately impacted by this disease. This cause also has a special place in Head Women’s Coach Roy Fenton’s heart, as his partner Kerryn went through the breast cancer battle herself three years ago. After 13 months that were full of surgeries and needles, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, she was given the good news that she was all clear. The money raised through the ladies’ luncheon event goes towards providing families with these kind of opportunities for good news and to reduce the number of families who have to deal with the kinds of hardships that surround breast cancer.

2019 marks the fourth year running that Emmaus St Leo’s has turned their annual ladies’ luncheon into a major fundraising event. In its first year, a massive $21,000 was raised for various breast cancer research foundations, with the sum total currently at $56,186. The aim for this year is to boost this to over $70,000 after the ladies’ luncheon event. For the past two years, Emmaus St Leo’s has been partnered directly with the National Breast Cancer Foundation, donating all funds raised directly to their cause. The NBCF funds initiatives to tackle breast cancer research and their ultimate goal is to end all breast cancer deaths by 2030, a feat wholly supported by Emmaus St Leo’s.

The annual ladies’ luncheon is arguably the biggest event on the Emmaus St Leo’s calendar, and that success is largely down to three key factors. The first is the ladies who attend, with the club averaging approximately 140 women yearly. Without this amazing support, the event wouldn’t be what it is today. Secondly is the supporters, as there are over 35 sponsors who donate prizes for the annual silent auction and raffles. Key major sponsors such as Toyota Material Handling, Franklin Landscaping, and A-Team Carpentry have been integral in allowing the club to run out in their pink jumpers each year, and also assist in reaching the fundraising goals. Lastly, it’s the organisers who selflessly dedicate time and energy into ensuring that the event runs as smoothly as possible. Without the collective efforts and combined passion of everybody involved, there would be no ladies’ luncheon. Specifically Harry Davis himself, who works tirelessly every year behind the scenes, and Joden Crothers, who has stood up in the absence of Nathan Baranello, both of which are important members of Emmaus St Leo’s.

Whilst the luncheon is the biggest event on the social calendar, it’s not the only cause important to Emmaus St Leo’s. Just briefly, last year marked the inception of the Emmaus St Leo’s Mental Health Fund, aimed at providing support to both players and the wider community who might be struggling with their mental health. As a small, grassroots club, to be putting so much effort into initiatives that are outside its general jurisdiction speaks to how committed they are to being bigger than just a football club, and how they’re looking to make a huge difference in people’s lives whichever way they can.

If you can’t attend the ladies’ luncheon, but would love to contribute something, the fundraising link is here. Even something small will go a long way to combatting this disease. Camberwell café Goodness Gracious, owned by the mother of beloved Emmaus St Leo’s player Jon Kapiniaris, is again also selling pink yoyos at $10 a pack, with all proceeds going directly to the club’s fundraising efforts. Not only this, but The Posy Story are selling candles and flowers for Mother’s Day and a portion of those sales are going towards Emmaus St Leo’s fundraising goals as well. They are also generously donating 11 table centrepieces for the ladies’ luncheon event which no doubt contributes to its success. Club player Lachlan Chapman, who lost his mum to breast cancer in 2011, is once again participating in the Mother’s Day Classic to honour her and raise money for breast cancer research, with fellow team member Matt Hill joining him. The collective passion for raising money for the National Breast Cancer Foundation that Emmaus St Leo’s facilitates year after year is second to none. It just goes to show how much can be done when you put your mind to it.

This year, it’s expected that 120 guests will be enjoying all that the day has to offer. For the first time ever, the event is being held on Animals ground, with the newly-built, Emmaus St Leo’s clubrooms serving as the venue. From 11:30am-2:30pm, the main function room will house a group of amazing women and supporters while the men’s reserves team take on Manningham out on the field. There will be drinks and laughs, and opportunities to spend a bit of money, and Harry Davis is rightly proud of the way the ladies’ luncheon epitomises everything Cathy Davis was, and could think of no better way to remember his mum.

- Sheridan Harris

Animalettes caged by the zoo - Sheridan Harris

Animalettes caged by the zoo - Sheridan Harris

If you were going by the scoreboards, Emmaus St Leo’s didn’t have a very good weekend, with all three sides losing away from home. The men’s teams were competitive all day, just losing out on the scoreboard. But it wasn’t all bad news for the women’s team either despite losing without a score on the board. There were good signs all round, with everybody playing their role and doing what was asked of them, even with some switching around of positions and some tough opponents.

Assistant Coach Brendan Ellwood was impressed by the team’s willingness to go in and have a real crack in unfamiliar positions, with Amy Ronchi having a run in the midfield and defence at times, and Kate Fletcher having a short stint on ball where she competed hard every time. Delaney Morvell moved into a full forward role and showed some good signs while Sarah Smith played well on the wing.

‘None of them complained or got hesitant because they were unsure, all just went out and had a go.’

Head Coach Roy Fenton was happy with the way everyone kept trying and didn’t give up, with Ellwood adding that ‘our persistence is becoming the identity of this team. They never dropped their heads or gave up because the win was out of reach, instead the focused on doing the things we want to do and played much better than the scoreboard says.’

The ball was coming in quick to the backline and Fenton was pleased with how well they stood up. Claire Anderson had an incredible game down in defence before she played off half-forward and Dee Burden got knocked around a bit but continued her efforts all game.

Another good sign was the way the Animalettes were able to shut down the scoring speed of UHS-VU, who scored 10 goals in the first half before only managing to 3 in the second. Ellwood laments that a lot of their early goals were opportunistic ones from goalline scrambles, but was impressed with how the team responded.

Since her first game, Shino Walsh has continuously impressed with her football abilities and her run off halfback, something not lost on Ellwood.

‘Shino had the footy on a string and had a strong defensive presence as well. Her work rate both ways was excellent, and when we put her on the ball, her impact was immediate.’

He also couldn’t talk more highly of Emmaus St Leo’s debutant Kayla Hetherington, stating that she ‘looked a natural at CHB and in her brief stint in the ruck. She adds some height too which gives us flexibility in our structure.’

It’s safe to say the new additions to the Animalettes this season have boosted the team in so many ways. The camaraderie shown every weekend on game day and during the week on training nights is second to none and an absolute product of the Animals spirit. The willingness to play for each other and never give up is amazing to watch. Despite being down, Emmaus St Leo’s women’s team were never out, and that counts for something. UHS-VU ran away winners 13.17.95 to 0.0.0 at the final siren.

Three losses on the same day for Emmaus St Leo’s sets up for what will be an incredible Mother’s Day weekend, with a triple header where all three teams will be looking for some redemption and the annual ladies’ luncheon being held in the clubrooms for the first time ever. The Animalettes will be running out for a 9.20am start to take on Oakleigh, who are playing their first season in Division 3, whilst the men’s teams will look to get one over Manningham, reserves at 11:40am and seniors at 2pm. Get down to Bennettswood Reserve this weekend!

Animals look to draw blood on Milestone Day

Animals look to draw blood on Milestone Day

It shapes as an early season defining game on the road for the Animals against the highly touted Bloods from Aquinas

It is a game of high significance for the reserves with Co-Captain Steve Jones lining up for his beloved blue and blue for the 100th time, Jonesy is an integral part of this team with his strong leadership and marking presence around the ground.

It serves as a crucial game being 2nd vs. 3rd and we have a great chance to leapfrog into second and possibly 1st (barring other results) with our superior percentage over Aquinas and Richmond Central. It is of vital importance that we solidify our position in the higher echleons of the ladder as we may drop back to as low as 5th with a loss.

Complacency may have been a factor after a cruisy round 1 victory over Parkside followed by a narrow loss to a red hot Richmond Central last weekend. Once again we have a raft of changes with 17, Max Hunt and Zac Kearns will make their debuts for the club, while Joe Anker and dynamic goalkicking duo Tom Birkett and Dan Hill all make their seasonal debuts


In the Seniors it is a mouth watering top of the table clash between the leagues only remaining undefeated sides with Aquinas just holding edge on the Animals by percentage (180-165)

Emerson Lemkau, Jonathon Greensides and Kieran Mair have been rewarded for their strong form in the magoos with their 2019 senior debuts. It’s been a promising start for the team being undefeated in two games with solid wins over Parkisde and Richmond Central.

Murmours going around the league are that these are the top two sides in the seniors so it will be important to have bragging rights and to instill fear in opposition teams by remaining undefeated and to climb to the top of the ladder which a win will achieve.

This week will be a real acid test and a true indication of where our boys stand in the pecking order for both grades

The women also have a tough challenge facing leader leaders UHS-VU at Brens Oval (The Zoo) at 9:20AM

The lads head out to Aquinas College with the Reserves kicking off proceedings at 11:40Am followed by the Seniors at 2Pm


As all games are away don’t forget to #WildAnimals on your carpools to the games

Best of luck to all teams! #AnimalsFooty

Animals look to rule the zoo

Animals look to rule the zoo

Emmaus St Leo’s women’s team will be looking for three wins in a row this weekend when they fly the coop and head for the zoo to play Division 3 new-kids-on-the-block UHS-VU at Brens Oval. After the Easter break, the Animalettes came out firing against a not-so-quietly confident Swinburne University outfit, and secured, for the first time in their history, two wins in a row with a strong fourth-quarter effort that saw them over the line by two points after being down at every break. The belief Emmaus St Leo’s women’s team has in themselves and in each other is undoubtedly crucial and they will look to bring that strength into the game on Saturday.

UHS-VU are sitting at the top of the Division 3 ladder, unbeaten on 3-0 with an enormous percentage of 488.89%, while the Animalettes sit comfortably one game clear in the top four. After a less-than-stellar start to their 2019 season with an unfortunate loss, Emmaus St Leo’s women’s team dug their heels in and since then have produced almost two full games of consistent pressure and teamwork that is clearly a staple of the Emmaus St Leo’s Football Club and the Animals brand. UHS-VU are fresh off a 37-point win away from home and will be hoping to continue their unbeaten streak when they take the field. The battle will well and truly be fierce but the Animalettes are more than up for it.

Team selection news has the ever-formidable backline in Brooke Chapman, Claire Anderson and Sam Bridgland named, with Shino Walsh, Kayla Hetherington who will play her first game in the blue and blue, and Emmaus St Leo’s stalwart Dee Burden at halfback. On the wing and playing her first game of the home and away season is Kate Lucas, joined by Soraya Jeanes on the other side. Sally Hood will start the game in the middle for the first time this season, boosted by efforts from Shanelle Blachford, Rhiannon Stute and Tara Ingham. Shannon Harris and Bridget Monaghan will start the game both in the deep forward role, with Sam Hogarth, Kate Fletcher, Shellby Lonie and Emily Kerr beginning the game at half forward. With a strong team named to start, they are only strengthened by the bench, with Delaney Morvell, Sarah Smith, Ashleigh Morley, Maddy Hogan, Amy Ronchi, and Sheridan Harris rounding it out.

Notable outs include VFLW duo Paige Nash, who has been named in the Collingwood VFLW side for their first game of the season, and injured Gab Biedenweg-Webster, as well as Jess Evans who is nursing an unfortunate broken finger.

Another away win against quality opposition will only boost the faith the Animalettes have in themselves and the team. Their strengths are their ability to play for each other and believe that they can win, regardless of the score. Is Tara ‘silent assassin’ Ingham likely to fly under the radar and swoop in for another goal? Can UHS-VU be caged? Make the trek over to Brens Oval this Saturday and watch the women in blue take on some serious opponents and find out. Despite some confusing advertising, the Animalettes will be running loose earlier than first expected on Saturday morning, with the first bounce being 9.20am.

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Animals 'swin' cements early top 4 position - Geoff Koop

Animals 'swin' cements early top 4 position - Geoff Koop

Persistence, hard work, and sheer weight of territorial dominance saw a ‘rowdy’ Swinburne University fail to hold on to a 3-goal half time lead as Emmaus St Leo’s women’s team, for the second week running, staged a stirring comeback victory. It was a win that Assistant Coach Brendan Ellwood was ecstatic with despite the slow start on the scoreboard.

“Despite falling behind on the scoreboard, I'm not too worried about the start. On paper it looked slow, but the girls were actually playing decent footy. Once we tightened up a few fundamentals, we were on top.”

The Animalettes once again applied early pressure with the ball locked in their forward half for the majority of the quarter, until a quick Swinburne slingshot move saw them dribble home the opener. A small break in the game followed with injuries to both sides halting play, before Swinburne quickly nabbed a second goal and established a margin to work with.

The second quarter would be a carbon copy of the first with extended periods of forward pressure for the Animalettes going unrewarded, before the only forward 50 entry of the quarter led to another goal just making it across the line as Swinburne enacted another well-executed counter. The work of Paige Nash off halfback continued to see the Animalettes launch raid after raid into the Swinburne defence but a flood of numbers back saw them clog up any free space and hold a 3.0 to 0.1 lead in to halftime.

But the game switched after the long break. The Animalettes came out the more focused of the two teams and whether it was the magic words of Ellwood and Head Coach Roy Fenton or a lapse of focus from Swinburne, Emmaus St Leo’s women’s team applied even more pressure than before, and it was rewarded. Captain Sally Hood nabbed her fourth goal of the young season as she got the handball receive from Jess Evans at 40 out and ran her allocation before calmly slotting home the Animalettes’ first and lighting the blue touch paper for the rest of the game.

Hood’s new-found home up front has allowed the discovery of Shellby Lonie’s rebound 50 capabilities, something not lost on Ellwood.

“Being able to send Sally forward has been great for us, she gives an experienced head and mobile presence who can lead, mark and win the footy at ground level. Shellby's versatility is fast becoming a vital factor to our success - she has already shown she can make an impact up forward, and when we were falling behind on Saturday she went back and steadied the ship, thriving across halfback, despite the fact that she doesn't like leaving the forward line. We also know that she can be damaging on ball and is a great clearance player.” But this is only enabled by the step up of some established players and the rise of newcomers. “The reason they are able to move to new positions is thanks to the emergence of some returning players (e.g Sam Bridgland at CHB and Rhiannon Stute/Shanelle Blachford in the middle) and the immediate impact of some new girls (e.g Bec Herne, Tara Ingham, Shino Walsh).”

Walsh and Herne have slotted in nicely to a backline that is ever-evolving, and quickly becoming a force within the division. After suffering a battering in round one, a siege mentality sees those who enter the 50 met with a ferocity on the football that is hardly matched in the league above board.

In the middle is where the real surprises come however, with Blachford, Stute, and newcomer Ingham beginning to form a partnership that rivals that of Kerr, Cousins, and Judd. They’re a catapult forward and an immovable wall when fought against, and it’s showing in the pressure being able to be applied by the Animalettes in 2019.

It was Ingham in the final term who would kick a goal to get her team to within a point, and through sheer weight of time, territory, and possession, Emmaus St Leo’s women’s team kicked ahead point by point with less than a minute remaining. For the first time in the quarter after the go-ahead point, Swinburne made it past halfway, only to meet Lonie as the first line of defence. Her superior marking ability saw her easily cut off the final roll of the Swinburne dice and secure back to back wins for the first time in the women’s team’s short history.

“Tackling was a highlight all day. As Roy put it, we really wore them down over the four quarters and when the game was on the line with a few minutes to go, our ability to lock the ball in our forward line was crucial,” said Ellwood, as he and Fenton are now faced with the unenviable task of taking down a UHS-VU team which has swamped all before them. If it is to come down to the wire though, you’ll find the coaching staff confident of the result.

“To win tight games you need to be able to find a way to step up when you're behind or challenged, and to display that on Saturday shows once again the character within this group.”

The Animalettes travel to the zoo to take on UHS-VU (3-0) in an 11.40am start this weekend, and will look to not only knock off one of the form teams in the division, but cement a spot in the top 4 early in the season.

Seniors charm Snakes, but Central claim two's - Lachlan Chapman

Seniors charm Snakes, but Central claim two's - Lachlan Chapman

The reserves were high on confidence following the 110 point demolition job of Parkside in the previous round and on the back of the women’s side coming from behind to win in the curtain raiser. It was a new look side with no less than 18 changes and 10 Animals debutants. The boys jumped out of the blocks early with four of the first 5 majors with Ashley Kaufmann, Emerson Lemkau and The Difference proving very lively early doors

I’m not sure what was in the water bottles for Richmond Central at quarter time because they came out a completely different side. The backline led by Chook O’connor did their best to stem the tide however a lack of two way running saw the snakes level the scores at the major break. J-Rod and TC implored the lads to stay calm in their half time address

It seemed to have an effect with the Animals jumping out the blocks with a good 5 minute spurt in the third registering a couple of majors with Kaufmann again the prominent figure. Flynn was impressive all day with his elite speed burning up the Bennettswood wings and Tom Wales found plenty of the ball and took some good contested marks. Despite this the Snakes came back and went into the final change with a 7 point lead.

It was a last quarter to forget with Richmond Centrals having their day in the sun. Zac Durrant and James Rippon were huge in the final quarter to withstand the charge however the boys in the end couldn’t end up kicking a winning score.

Many of lessons will be learnt from the loss and it’s only one game that doesn’t define a season. Captain Steve Jones suggested post match that the boys remember how much this loss stung to use as motivation in the coming weeks


It was a tight tussle early in the Seniors as Richmond Central showed they were up for the fight after two narrow losses. After trialling for most of the first term the Animals found their groove and managed a minor lead at the first break. Despite being first at the contest early Ian implored the guys you use their run and spread as we were the younger and fitter side.

The Animals got things rolling in the second term aided by some inaccurate kicking from the snakes. Co-captain Harry Davis had an inbuilt radar for the goals inside his head and had no issue finding them all day. At the main break the boys had breathing space with a 16 point lead

The third quarter saw the game become a real slog as both teams struggled with efficiency and accuracy in front of goal with Emmaus edging Richmond Central out 2.4 to 1.5. Hugh Schaeche and Paul Baranello were doing well in the guts while Ben ‘Trigger’ Collins was breaking the lines with his elite ball use.

The game opened up in the final term with both sides registering 5 majors however the Animals maintained enough breathing space with a 3-4 goal buffer for the majority of the second half leaving the result never in doubt.

Harry Wines was named BOG following his best on in the reserves the game prior while H was the difference (sorry Greensides) with 6 majors.

Animals look to dole out lesson to start Triple Header

Animals look to dole out lesson to start Triple Header

The scene is set for an incredible day at Bennettswood Reserve when Emmaus St Leo’s hosts its first triple header of the season this Saturday, with all three teams set to take on some new foes. The men will play Richmond Central, the reserves game kicking off at 11:40am and the seniors starting at 2pm, but it’s the Animalettes who will be taking the field first against Division 3 newcomers Swinburne University. Fresh off a 12-point win that saw the ladies gel on the field in a way they haven’t before to pull off a hard-fought four-quarter effort against the Bulleen-Templestowe Bullants, Emmaus St Leo’s women’s team will look to consolidate the form that allowed them to hold on.

Swinburne are coming to Animals turf intent on righting some wrongs after losing their last match by 65 points against fellow new Division 3 team in the Hampton Rovers. Both Emmaus St Leo’s and Swinburne are sitting on 4 points with one loss and one win, with Emmaus St Leo’s perched in 4th position, just above Swinburne, on the ladder by percentage only. The season has already been full of teams winning by more than just a couple of points so it’s safe to say that a percentage-boosting win would be an absolute bonus.

At the selection table, Bec Herne, Sam Bridgland and Dee Burden are the last line of defence, with Delaney Morvell, Gab Biedenweg-Webster and Ashleigh Morley aiming to provide some run out of halfback. In the middle, Shino Walsh, Tara Ingham and Soraya Jeans will be boosted by efforts from Bridget Monaghan in the ruck, Shanelle Blachford as ruck rover, and Caroline Simon as rover. At half forward is Jess Evans, Rhiannon Stute, Amy Ronchi, and captain Sally Hood who will start further up the ground due to both Shannon Harris and Shellby Lonie sharing the deep forward line role, pushing up when needed. Rounding out the bench is Emily Kerr, Sam Hogarth, Maddy Hogan, Brooke Chapman, Sheridan Harris, and Paige Nash.

This game is set to be a cracker, with the Animalettes hoping to kick off another weekend of wins for Emmaus St Leo’s. Numbers at training have been impressive, but what’s been more impressive is the skills and how they’re consistently getting better, despite some wet weather. Hood is fresh off a 3-goal clinic that nobody’ll forget anytime soon, but will she kick some more? Will one of the Harris twins get their first goal for Emmaus St Leo’s? Get down to Bennettswood Reserve for a 9:20am start this Saturday and find out!

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