The visit of North Brunswick to Burwood tomorrow affords both Mens sides the opportunity to solidify their top 4 credentials before the first VAFA mandated bye of 2019.
The Reserves have been solid without spectacular in 2019 outside of their opening round win against a promoted side in Parkside. The opportunity arises to face the other promoted side in the section, and another opportunity to send a message to Aquinas and Richmond Central that the Animals will not concede a top 2 spot without a fight.
The return of the Reserves leadership in Adam Athorne, Steve Jones, and Nic Glanville is an instantaneous strengthening of the side, with all three slotting immediately back in to key positions for the Tom Clarke led side.
Jones and Glanville join a star studded forward line featuring proven goalkickers in Tom Birkett, Lachlan Gunn, and Dan Hill. Rounded out by Zac Kearns who found his range last time out, and its a forward line built to score, something the Animals Reserves are guilty of not exploiting in their previous encounter.
Through the middle, ruckman Kevin Moloney returns to twos footy where he made an instant impact in 2018. Kev will have two of the Animals more intriguing prospects in Sean Howard and Josh Webb whilst also being joined by the ever consisten Louis Fasolino.
Down back co-captain Adam Athorne bolster a backline full of experience and grit. Fraser Walker trades the mic for the boots to start at Fullback whilst fresh off his Table Tennis championship win last week, Lachlan Chapman will be keen to carry his winning form onto the field.
Courtesy of the bye, the Seniors consecutive losses which bounced them out of the top 4 beforehand, landed them right back in it. However failure to take advantage of this opportunity will see the bye take away their top 4 status.
It’s a seniors side searching for consistency on multiple fronts. On the field they will be searching for a 4 quarter performance, with losses to both Manningham and Westbourne coming through lapses in concentration in completely different circumstances.
It’s a scenario the Seniors will be none too keen to repeat at home to a North Brunswick side the only team tracking worse in Division 3 form wise. A 5th consecutive loss leaves the Senior Bulls with a questioned status of remaining in the section, questions they will be keen to answer and do so convincingly.
The return of co-captain Chris Beluszar adds an extra weapon to an Animals forward line in desperate need of correction after their 12 goal 20 behind performance last time around. Ray Kuhnell makes his first start for the Senior side in 2019 after coming off the bench last time round, the Animals will rely on his forward pressure to help lock the ball in to what will be a damp Bennettswood Reserve.
Through the middle, other co-captain Harry Davis makes his first start in the middle of the ground for 2019 after being deployed as a forward to start the season. He’ll team up with Paul Baranello and Brent Simons to feed of the quality rucking of Jonathan O’Connor.
Down back, Joden Crothers has been moved higher up the ground to be flanked by the other two Davis brothers, whilst Reece Luehman slots into a deeper role than in previous weeks.