Lloyd Christmas once said “So you’re telling me there’s a chance?” when confronted with a very unlikely scenario, however the Animals will be looking to extinguish any chances of an early Christmas miracle for either Westbourne or Canterbury when they travel to Burnley to finish the 2019 VAFA Division 3 Home and Away season.
The Animals have all but secured a Senior section finals spot, with the highly unlikely scenario of the Animals losing to Richmond Central, and Westbourne and Canterbury playing out a draw at Canterbury the only possible way to remove the Animals from their coveted finals position.
However, the Animals won’t be leaving anything to chance.
Still bullish about their flag chances in both grades in 2019, Emmaus have named two incredibly strong sides for the final round of the season, with a senior debut also handed out to a club favourite.
In the reserves, Screech Burke, Jason Schinck, and co-Captain Steve Jones mark a host of quality returns as the Animals look to avenge their then shock loss at the start of the season to the Snakes.
That day, Richmond Central overcame an early deficit to run out 9 point winners at Bennettswood, a loss no one involved in has soon forgotten.
Jono Greensides kicked 2 that day, and is fresh off a 6 goal return last week to strike again at the vast expanses of Kevin Bartlett Reserve, apt for a man who rates himself as highly as KB does KB.
He’ll have sole possession of the Animals forward line with section goal kicking leader Tom Birkett resting before a crucial finals series. Birkett will end 2019 on 48 goals in 9 games played, just shy of averaging 7 snags an outing.
In the middle, Sean Howard, Harry Wines, and the returning Jason Schinck for a midfield to be feared by any side in the division, with elite running from Charlie Simpson and Zac Durrant to accompany them on the wings.
Screech Burke returns to the backline as well, after starring in his previous two outings at Canterbury and Manningham.
The Animals are locked in to 4th position in the Reserves, and a win could set up a potential rematch the following week, with Richmond Central only one game ahead of Manningham in 3rd.
In the Seniors, there’s more positive returns ahead of the final month, with Hugh Schaeche returning from a niggle to replace Harry Davis. Ray Kuhnell starts in the middle to combat a very contested Snakes side who love a hard ball get.
Down back, clubroom favourite Fraser “G-Train” Walker makes his senior debut for the Blue and the Blue, replacing Ben Collins who rests as well before the finals series.
Up front, Zac Kearns backs up for his second senior game, whilst Paul Baranello, Chris Beluszar, and Brent Simons represent a real danger for any defender in yellow and black.
A win will confirm 3rd spot for the Animals, a loss, and suddenly thoughts go towards “the chance”, however dumb it may seem.