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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