Many things age well, like a fine wine, good cheese, or a priceless piece of art. These are sought after items the longer they exist. The Animals would like to raise you a pair of Baranello’s. Brothers Paul and Nath were reunited on the football field again as the put on their famous “Barra Masterclass” in what was a systematic dismantling of a gutsy North Brunswick side.
At times the large Leo’s contingent simply stood in awe as Nath and Paul went about their usual business, whether it be pinpoint precision passing, vision that defied rhyme and reason, or the unique Baranello way of simply winning the football.
Despite it being Nath’s first appearance of the 2019 season, he slotted in to what was a new system for him seamlessly and lead from the front in game 200 as the Animals eased to a 98-26 victory over North Brunswick. The milestone man lived up to the day as well, sneaking around the back and receiving the hand off to line up from 50m out in the final term on a field that made playing free flowing football a challenge.
It was evident from the first how much the Animals needed to adjust to the conditions, as a wayward start saw them kick 2 goals 8 and waste several key goal opportunities as midfielders Hugh Schaeche and Brent Simons ran riot in the middle mud.
And when North Brunswick majored themselves early in the second, some nervous jitters were excusable from the gathered. They were however quickly eased when the Animals slotted the next 3 to take a handy 42-7 lead into main change. The quarter was highlighted by Nath Baranello’s hit of the year which made a sound which can only be described as bone shuddering. Clean, hard, relentless, it was your typical Baranello performance.
But the Bulls came out and doubled their previous efforts after the half. Two quick goals to start the term and the rowdy locals were up and about. Leo’s answered again with Matt Hill kicking his usual tight angle spectacular, and when Foxy Beluszar kicked truly himself the game had been well and truly blown out.
The Animals put the jandal to the metal in the final term, kicking 5 goals, including backman Joden Crothers making one of his regular journeys on the day forward to finish the game after the siren with a major to make it consecutive years with a goal.
However it was Nath Baranello’s effort which drew the most raucous approval from the largely pro-Emmaus crowd, with a sign of the moment seeing all 17 other Animals on the field mob the man of the moment.
In the Reserves, a more ruthless attitude saw a blowout win drive the Animals 2’s percentage up by 21% as they ran out 24.14.158 to 4.5.29 victors.
Tom Birkett returned with a miserly 9 to regain his lead atop the Reserve section goal kicking list. Pickles Phillips and Connor Hoetzel both marked their returns with two each, whilst even defensive star Zac “KD” Durrant found a way to impact the scoreboard
It was the epitome of one way traffic for many stages of the game, with the Animals taking an 11 goal first half, and turning it into a 13 goal second half.
Impressive in his return as well was Jason Schinck, who demanded the football and used with aplomb in the quickly deteriorating conditions in the centre square.
The wins kept both sides in fourth spot, with the Reserves now able to secure a finals berth with a win over their nearest rival in Canterbury on Saturday, whilst the Seniors will look to create a crucial 4 point gap on the Cobras in the later game.