Congratulations to Tessa Zagontinos and Daniel Epifano who will play their 50th games this weekend. Tessa will be running out against St Kevins in the Premier Womens semi-final, and Daniel will be representing the Reserves in a tough matchup against Ormond.

It is an honour to write a tribute for one of my greatest and longest-standing teammates, Tessa Zagontinos, as she plays her 50th game for MOCFC this weekend.

Tessa cemented herself as a crafty small forward back in Junior football days, where the cherished nickname ‘Batman’ began. ‘Batty’ was part of the inaugural Women’s team at MOCFC, and one of the very first players to be registered. With her clever game sense, precision in front of goal, and an all-embracing passion for football… Tessa quickly became a permanent fixture in the Senior team.

Over her time at the club, Tessa has collected many personal accolades to be proud of. This included selection in the Big V squads of both ’17 and ’18, as well as donning the sash for Essendon VFLW in 2019. Impressively, Tessa has kicked 41 goals in her 49 games to date – 2 of those goals contributing significantly to our Premiership win in 2017. I can almost guarantee half (or perhaps more) of those kicks were snaps; one of Bat’s most notable trademark moves. It is not uncommon to find her on the boundary line after training, educating her fellow teammates where to strike the ball for a snap on the narrowest of angles.

This is just one portrayal of Batman’s unwavering commitment to the Sheagles. However, I believe the prime example illustrating her loyalty to the squad can be found on her ankle; a simple ‘YTS’ (Yeah The Sheags) tattoo etched onto her skin forever. This was an easy decision made one night of the Byron Bay footy trip. If this doesn’t truly highlight the type of teammate Tessa is, I’m not sure what will.

I can write about Tessa’s on-field successes for pages. But I want to use this opportunity to try and honour our beloved Bat for the person she is off the field.

Tessa always displays true humility, sincerity, and constant optimism. She celebrates and respects everyone. Her simply cool and easy-going nature is infectious, and one that draws many people to be around her. She is just a really, really good human. These are some of the reasons I have an incredible amount of admiration for Bat, and I am confident these views are shared by all who are lucky to know her.

I remember asking why Batman was Tessa’s favourite, many years ago. She argued that Batman was still a superhero, despite having no actual superpowers. Luckily for us, our Batman does.

All the best this weekend you little legend, you deserve it – and I can’t wait to play out another 50 together!

– Lani Pane