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