Montreal Angels - 2014 US Nationals Preview

Only a few days out from the 2014 US Nationals it’s time for Shady Punter to preview the Montreal Angels. The Montreal Angels are AFL Quebec’s Women’s Representative team, and like the Quebec Saints, this will be their first year at US Nati...onals. The team is comprised of players from the NDG Devils and Plateau Eagles, both teams in the domestic AFL Quebec Women’s League.

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The last year of women’s footy in Quebec has been nothing short of incredible. It all started at the tail end of the 2013 season when the Angels entered a team in the Canadian Women’s Nationals. Despite basically fielding a team of entire rookies, the Angels gave a damn good account of themselves, finally finishing in a respectable 6th spot.

Fast forward a year and the dynamics of women’s footy in Montreal has dramatically changed… and all for the good. Now boasting it’s very own Women’s League, 2014 has seen over 35 women play the great game of Aussie Rules Football in La Belle Province. Add in victories in the annual May tournament, the Boston Invitational in June and the success of the Montreal Angels Team Canada Reps at the International Cup in August, and 2014 is certainly a year to remember.

But why stop there? In just a few days’ time, the Montreal Angels hit up Dublin, Ohio for the 2014 US Nationals Women’s Tournament. Despite the long travel distance, time and money commitments involved the Angels are going to the Ohio with a squad of girls more than capable of bringing home the silverware.

Anchored as customary by club stalwarts the Legault sisters, Aimee and Margo, Lindsay Belzie and Kate Sargeant the Montreal Angels will look to these girls to provide much needed leadership and experience. What else can we say about the Legault sisters? Both were key to Team Canada’s recent International Cup success, and both will be hoping to add yet another Grand Final success to their already crammed resume of footballing success. Belzie and Sargeant both have US Nationals experience having been here before and both like the Legault sisters will be hoping to leave Ohio with the goods on Sunday evening.

And while we might place a lot of emphasis on the experience of the aforementioned, rival teams would do well but to place emphasis on the wonderful trio of Warden, Gilmore and Dickinson. All uniquely different in their style of play but at the same time so similar in their ability to take a game on and have an impact on proceedings. All key players for the Angels quest for glory, expect all to feature in and around the ball for large parts of the tournament.

Down back with the rock (that’s Margo Legault between you and me) expect to see the likes of rookie sensation Kathleen Zuk, Australia’s finest Jane Fenelon and Midnight Sun’s Lisa Dalla Rossa. Growing in stature every week, Zuk has nailed down a starting sport in this Angels side with some impressive end of season AFL Quebec Performances. Along with Dalla Rossa, who is fresh back from an IC appearance, both will be key to shutting down opposition forward lines at the weekend. And while Eboka’s absence may be felt, it will certainly not be a hindrance. With Legault, Fenelon will provide much needed leadership and inspiration in the backline, and any void left by the tough tackling Eboka will be filled by the Australian.

The Angels forward line is littered with flair and agility. And while Bender and Falaradeau will be huge losses to this Angels side, they have players more than capable of filling the void left by the big two. Dora Bartolvic has been a sensation all season, kicking goals at will. Graham is all but a seasoned veteran at this stage and with the ball in hand she too kicks goals. And with her marking ability, she often has the ball in hands.

Fresh of captaining the NDG Devils to domestic glory, Veronique Chasse will be hoping to continue her rich vein of form and inspire the Angels to National glory. One of the newest kids on the scene, Gabriel Bureau has taken to footy as if she grew up around the game her whole life. Only a matter of months ago, Bureau didn’t know the game existed. Now she is a pivotal part of this Angels side. As comfortable at home in defence, midfield or in attack, how good the Angels perform, depends a lot on how good she performs.

Massive excitement has been building around the Angels camp ever since the announcement of the late inclusion of Aussie Superstar Jenna Haverfield. And while we haven’t been privileged enough to see her in action just yet, if her performance and commitment at practice over the last number of weeks are anything to go by, then we are certainly in for a treat.

Already without Géraldine Durand-Groulx, The Angels were dealt a double blow with the late withdrawal of not one but two of the regular Angel Rucks, Torstyn Harold and Emily Legault. But such is the strength in depth of this Angels side; expect Marie Soleil Jacques, when called upon, to fill this role with the upmost aptitude. If not deployed in the ruck, Jacques will be winging her way around the field causing untold havoc for opposition players.

The Angels have been drawn in what can only be described as the group of death, rubbing shoulders with traditional powerhouses of US Women’s Footy the Denver Lady Bulldogs and Minnesota Freeze and last year’s beaten Canadian Women’s National finalist, the Calgary Kookaburra. And while this may seem like an intimidating group to all concerned, facing a team with names like Legault, Gilmore and Dickinson can only be more intimidating for other teams drawn against us.

After the most successful year of women’s footy in Quebec to date, can the Angels top it off with the pieces de résistance, the 2014 US Women’s Nationals? With the amount of dedication and commitment shown by all even just to make the journey, let alone the all the countless hours of practice and match preparation, this Angels side has every chance.

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To keep right up to date with all that’s happening with the Montreal Angels at US Nationals and all year round, follow AFL Quebec on twitter, https://twitter.com/aflquebec and like the AFL Quebec Facebook Page, https://www.facebook.com/AFL.Quebec . Also check out the official AFL Quebec website, www.aflquebec.ca . You can also check out www.USAFL.com to follow all that is happening at the 2014 US Nationals.
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2017 Women's League
POS TEAM PTS
1 NDG Giants 20
2 Plateau Eagles 20
3 Ottawa Swans 8