The AFL men might be back this weekend for the first home and away round of the season, but that’s the last thing on the minds of our women’s team, who have their first hit out of the season this Friday night. They’ll be making the trek over to LaTrobe University’s freshly named Tony Sheehan Oval and will be testing their strengths against VAFA newcomers Richmond Central in a practice match.

After a historic first season at Emmaus St Leo’s, the affectionately named “Animalettes” will look to get their second season off to a flyer.

Behind the scenes, the women’s team has had a bit of a shake up, gaining players to fill in the gaps left by non-returning players.

Players to watch this coming Friday include some new faces, with the likes of Emily Kerr hoping to show off how big her boot is, and Bec Herne who has taken to code switching like a fish to water, as well as our trusted backman Sally Hood whose skills continue to look effortless. Listen out for our very own Chanel No. 5, Shanelle Blachford, whose words of encouragement and passion have been heard the entire preseason.

Assistant Women’s Coach Brendan Ellwood has noticed dramatic improvements throughout the preseason in a lot of returning players and is excited to see that put into action in a match environment. Your first taste of competitive footy is an amazing experience and he can’t wait to see the women who are new to footy take the field.

Ellwood is looking forward to seeing who displays leadership on and off the field and who embodies all the fundamentals that the team has set as non-negotiable traits for the 2019 season.

These sentiments are echoed by Head Women’s Coach Roy Fenton who is looking for every player to not only be playing for themselves, but playing for each other. The camaraderie and ability to back each other up is a core foundation of not only the women’s team, but the entire Emmaus St Leo’s Football Club.

Fenton is also looking to see how training is transferred into game day, both in preparation and on the field. He says enjoying playing the game and enjoying the company of teammates is also of major importance. The numbers at training have been getting increasingly bigger as preseason gets on.

Let’s hope Collingwood aren’t the only ones to take home the win on Friday night! Will Sally get her opportunity in the forward line and convince coach Roy that that’s where she belongs? Will we trade our trademark slow starts for a fierce and strong start? Get down to LaTrobe University, support our women’s team and find out! First bounce is at 7.30pm

- Sheridan Harris