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.
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.