With Emmaus St Leo’s men’s teams not playing for a solid month, it’s up to the Animalettes to carry the torch for the club, and this weekend, they’re making the trip to St James Park to take on Swinburne University for the second time this year. Against ladder-leaders last weekend, Emmaus St Leo’s women’s team showed pure fight for the entire four quarters despite losing out considerably on the scoreboard. The belief that was shown then will put them in good stead for the battle on Saturday.

Last time they saw each other, the Animalettes ran away with a two point win. That means that the last time they saw each other was the last time Emmaus St Leo’s team left the field winners on the scoreboard. In a first for the year, Swinburne sit one under the Animalettes on the ladder on points. Both teams are coming off long losing streaks, with Swinburne looking to remedy their 9-game streak, and the Animalettes their 7-game streak. It’s bound to be a good game given that both sides are nursing some wounds from the 2019 season and have something to prove.

In what’s becoming a weekly thing, Emmaus St Leo’s women’s team is again debuting another player, even this late in the season. Ashwood junior Sarah Morley, who has impressed in the SMJFL Women’s u/18s competition this year with 3 goals in her last 3 games, has been granted a permit to join sister Ashleigh in the blue and the blue. The Morleys become the fifth set of siblings to play for the Animals in 2019.

Playing fullback is Jess Dawson, with Sam Bridgland and Dee Burden at her sides with Cassy Dutton, Kayla Hetherington and Soraya Jeanes at halfback. Maddy Hogan will start in the ruck, with Abbey Gray, Sam Hogarth and Shanelle Blachford at her feet, and Ashleigh Morley and Claire Anderson out on the wings. At half forward, Jess Evans, Sheridan Harris, Bridget Monaghan and Shellby Lonie are named, with Shannon Harris and Kate Lucas starting down deep. Both Sarahs are named on the bench at this point, with team-manager-turned played Sarah Dawson eager to pull the blue and blue on again, and Morley herself donning the guernsey for the first time.

In the last couple of weeks, the Animalettes fight that we saw at the start of the season has slowly returned and it’s been nothing short of inspiring to see. They have a real chance against Swinburne and will look to start the last part of the season off on a high. Are their scoring opportunities likely to continue? Can the Animalettes end their 7-game losing streak? With the men’s teams not set to return for awhile, get down to St James Park for your weekly dose of Animals spirit and find out. First bounce is at 11:20am.

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