Unfavourable weather conditions yielded unfavourable results for both Emmaus St Leo’s men’s teams, who travelled to Koonung Reserve and faced the Manningham Cobras on Saturday.
It was a case of running out of time for the reserves, whose fourth quarter fight back wasn’t enough to deny Manningham the four points as they ran away four-point winners in what was a scrappy match from beginning to end. The first fifteen minutes of the first quarter were impressive, with the run and movement providing plenty of opportunities for the forwards. Tom Birkett added to his goal tally for the season with a major after taking a sliding mark, and did his best to provide his teammates with their own opportunities, kicking the ball to a long-sleeved Zac Kearns who also kicked truly. Kieran Jenkins scored the Animals’ third goal of the quarter with a mark on the 50 line, to see his team go six points up into the first break.
The following three quarters, much to the chagrin of Emmaus St Leo’s supporters and players, saw efforts from everybody but without a reward on the scoreboard. Kieran Jenkins kicked his second, and the Animals’ fourth, late in the fourth quarter to provide some sunshine in an otherwise dreary day for Emmaus St Leo’s reserves team. Another bright spot was the connection between ruckman and midfielder with Harry Wines being on the receiving end of some well-timed taps from Max Hunt, and managing to break away and send the ball forward countless times.
In a low-scoring affair and the final score being 5.5.35 to 4.7.31, Manningham’s ability to shut down Emmaus St Leo’s major players ended up being the difference.
It was a different story for the seniors, and not in a good way, who started off the game on the back foot, going into the first break 0.0.0 to Manningham’s 2.5.17. Countless efforts from some of Emmaus St Leo’s stalwarts in Michael Davis and Paul Baranello weren’t enough to combat the speed that Manningham had through the middle. Dan Hill kicked the Animals’ first in the second quarter, and followed up with his second in the third. Ray Kuhnell also added to Emmaus St Leo’s score after getting paid a 50 metre penalty on the wing and converting. Manningham kept the pressure up all day, consistently upping their score though wayward goalkicking kept the Animals closer than they arguably should have been, despite efforts from all involved. Harry Davis and Baxter Newbegin added to the Animals’ score with two majors in the final quarter.
The seniors were in the wars all day, with at least five players gaining and carrying injuries throughout the game. In the end, Manningham kicked away, adding three more goals to their final score in the last term to finish the game 12.12.84 to the Animals’ 5.2.32.
Both Emmaus St Leo’s men’s teams will be looking for redemption when they play hosts for the last time for the home and away season. Their opponents are Parkside, who the reserves systematically dismantled by 110 points, with the seniors following suit and winning by 55, when they played each other in the second round of the year. Get down to Bennettswood Reserve for the last time in the 2019 home and away season, and watch your Animals put some wins back on the board. First bounce is at 11:40am.