In front of a large crowd at home at Bennettswood Reserve with the men’s team coming out in full support despite having a division-wide bye, Emmaus St Leo’s women’s team played their first match of the 2019 season against the Preston Bullants. While it wasn’t a game to remember in terms of the final scoreline, it was definitely one to celebrate for the club in general, with seven women running out for their first game in the blue and blue.

The weather couldn’t have been more perfect, with the sky clearing up as the day got on. With some new pre-game rules in place, the women all ran out for their warm up together, with plenty of voice and skills on show. The mood was incredibly positive and everybody was excited to get into it.

The first quarter started off well, with the Animalettes providing ample pressure to keep the Bullants at bay despite the ball spending a lot of time down their defensive 50. The backline stood strong with Claire Anderson and vice-captain Sam Bridgland playing their roles well. Shellby Lonie took a strong pack mark in the second quarter, showing off how good her hands are. At the main break, scores were a bit more reflective of the forward pressure that Preston was implementing, going into it 21 points up.

But the scorecard didn’t dull the passion the Animalettes came out with in the second half. Tara Ingham and Bec Herne had brilliant debut games, getting their hands on the ball at crucial times. Caroline Simon was, as always, at her best, her token tackling pressure much needed. Cassy Dutton played a ruck role for most of her first game, and impressed everyone with her second and third efforts. At the last siren, the final scores were 2.4.16 Emmaus St Leo’s to Preston’s 9.9.63 who kicked away in the last.

The two Animals goals that were kicked on the day were both pretty impressive. Emily Kerr kicked the first goal of the game in spectacular fashion during the second quarter, breaking through the pack in the forward 50 and nailing the kick, with Lonie expertly gathering the ball and sending it straight through the big sticks in the third quarter. It wasn’t the start the Animalettes were after, but with some familiar faces looking to return for round 2, they’ll look to bounce back away from home this Saturday at Ted Ajani Reserve.

Their foe is an unfamiliar one in Bulleen-Templestowe who are also coming off a loss after joining Division 3 this season. After a big Monday night training session, which will be followed up by a determined Thursday night session, there’s no doubt the women’s team will come out all guns blazing. Get down to see the Animalettes in their first away game of the season! First bounce is at 11.40am.

EMMAUS ST. LEO’S 0.0 1.2 2.2 2.4 16
PRESTON 0.3 4.5 5.9 9.9 63

GOALS: E.Kerr, S.Lonie
BEST: S.Lonie, C.Dutton, B.Monaghan, S.Jeanes, B.Herne, E.Kerr