The Animals will begin a stretch of 6 games straight into the VAFA Finals when they take on the first of their final opponents in Westbourne in Truganina, one of the longest and more arduous in the VAFA, before adding in expected cool conditions.
Leo’s are the only club to play 6 straight games leading into the end of the season, and will look to use that as a launching point into the 4 in both Seniors and Reserves, with the same result leading to vastly different outcomes for either side.
The Reserves, who will take solace in their near decimation of Westbourne in their first meeting, and will look to hone their skills when they take on a Warriors outfit languishing in the cellar of the Reserves section.
The biggest inclusion for the Animals this weekend comes from the twos, with the return of star defender Baxter Newbegin from injury. Newbegin has been missing since April 4 after suffering a lower body injury in the Senior’s loss to Aquinas.
His return bolsters a defensive 6 that also sees the return of Co-Captain Adam Athorne, who will look to provide his mixture of elite disposal and all day run to shut down a Westbourne side that saw a sizeable score hung upon them whilst being kept to 5 goals themselves.
Tom Shannon headlines a deep midfield, with key figure Jason Schink pushed to the bench to start the clash. Josh Webb will look to repeat his previous efforts in the middle which saw him part of the last quarter heroics against Canterbury, whilst Flynn Normand and Tom Buick will provide the outside run, with Tom Buick also playing for the first time since the dramatic draw against the Cobras.
Up front, the returns of Lachlan Gunn and Eddie Bell see some new forwards enter the fray to show a more clinical performance than the earlier clash between the two sides. Vice-Captain Nic Glanville also returns to the side after recently returning from Tasmania.
On the bench, Niles Sheridan makes his 2019 debut after fighting off an upper body injury for most of 2019.
The Seniors let a 5 goal half time lead slip from their grasp the last time these two sides met, where two Westbourne players kicked 10 combined goals of the sides 16.
It’s an undroppable contest for the Seniors, with a win ensuring they will control their destiny heading into the final month of regular season.
Charlie Simpson comes in to match up against a zippy Senior Warriors side in some tricky conditions, in what is the only change from the previous back 6 that played before the bye.
In the middle, Michael Davis joins a star studded line up of Kev Maloney, Paul Baranello, and Hugh Schaeche. With the outside run coming from Kieran Mair and Jesse Collins, there are sure to be some gut busting boundary strolls.
Up front, Jack Hunt comes in to the side to show off his spectacular overhead skills as he looks to provide the Animals forward line a tangible marking contact.
Luckily for Leo’s, there’s also a second fantastic overhead mark in club stalwart Chris “Foxy” Beluszar. Failure to clunk said above marks, leading small forward Dan Hill will be buzzing around to cause issues for any and every opponent.
Reserves start at 11.40am, Seniors at 2 out west.