From Roo to Lion

Joe Antonetti (right) (supplied)

Harper Sercombe

Taylors Lakes is returning to the Essendon District Football League women’s competition, fielding a standalone side for the first time.

The Lions previously had a joint side with Avondale Heights in 2018, but haven’t had any representation since in the senior women’s competition.

Joe Antonetti has been named their inaugural coach.

Antonetti coached the Sunbury Kangaroos last season, finishing fifth in division 2 just outside of finals.

Now, Antonetti is ready to get stuck in with his new team.

“I’m excited, it’s a new group but all the girls are keen and ready to go,” he said. “Once we lock in dates for pre-season, it’s all systems go.

“It’s the first women’s team they’ve had, and it’s always nice to be the first, there are no expectations.

“But the girls are really keen, once we get the group together, it will be good to see where everyone’s at and how far we can take it.”

Antonetti said it’s been a positive start to his time at the club, with healthy numbers showing interest in donning the royal blue and gold in 2024.

The club has already announced a host of signings, including many who were members of the Lions’ inaugural girls team. Charlie Goodwin, Jorja Brink, Emma Villani and Jaime Wulf have all committed to the club for 2024, and were a part of the junior girl’s side.

Winger and outside midfielder Hanna Mercado has also joined the club, alongside defender Chloe Clark-Cain. Under-18.5 captain for 2023 Kaitlyn Portelli has also re-committed to the Lions.

“The numbers are strong,” Antonetti said.

“Always in women’s footy you’re looking for more players.

“Now it’s about getting together on the track and meeting some of the players for the first time.”

Antonetti said to get the most out of the young and largely inexperienced group he has, he will be focusing on utilising everyone’s individual strengths.

“It’s all about bringing out everyone’s individual talent, and not playing within themselves, just letting them back themselves” he said.

“At Sunbury I worked a lot on skills and towards the end they really improved, and I got a lot of good feedback from a lot of girls.

“Skills and enjoyment and creating a good environment, and once you have those things in place the wins will take care of themselves.

“Success will be hard to gauge having never had a team before, but I hate losing, so obviously we’d prefer to win more than we lose.

“But knowing division 2 from last year, anything can happen in that division, so anything’s within our grasp.”