ANZAC CUP 2018 – MEN’S MATCH REPORT
The second game on a historic ANZAC Cup match day saw the men of the Australian Spirit side fight hard to triumph over France in a seesawing affair that remained in the balance deep in the final quarter.
In a contest typified by a ferocious intensity and equally commendable comradery, the well drilled French side challenged the Australian’s right throughout the match to provide a glowing endorsement for the strength of Australian Football in Europe.
Following the lead of their female counterparts in the earlier match, France brought a fierce attack on the footy right from the first bounce and got off to a blistering start when Raphael Ubeda ignited the home crowd with the opening goal of the match.
The Australian’s steadily began to work their way into the match as the opening quarter progressed, but owed the fact they were not further behind to the repeated defensive efforts of Nathan Costley at full-back, whose goal-saving spoil began a crisp transition down the outer wing that led to Jake McIntosh kicking the Aussies first goal five minutes in.
Despite the mounting Australian pressure, France held firm and was able to regain the lead just prior to quarter time courtesy of back to back goals from Julian Dagois and Pierre Boscart, before Michael Cowan kicked truly to steady the ship for the green and gold right on the quarter-time siren.
If it wasn’t clear that the French had come to play prior to the first break, the bash and crash of the second term ensured there would be no doubting that their intention was to cause a huge boilover against a highly touted Australian Spirit line-up.
Following the brutal start to the second quarter, a moment of class from Mitch Skelly extended the Australian lead, before Lloyd Quinlan threatened to open the floodgates when his shot sailed true not long after, though the French rallied with two quick goals of their own to cut the gap and swing momentum back in their favour.
Tyson Mihocek’s team lifting goal for the Aussie Spirit heading into the break was immediately cancelled out after halftime by France, with the ball spending the majority of the following ten minutes pinging between the two arcs in a pulsating third quarter as both sides battled for ascendancy.
Majors to Dan Clifford and Jake McIntosh’s eventually threatened to blow the game apart, but once more the French answered the challenge thanks to captain Pierre Boscart, whose strong contested mark and goal late in the quarter ensured the match was poised on a knifes edge heading into the final change.
Trailing by just 12 points at three-quarter time, the France tenacity continued to rattle the cages of the Australian players early in the fourth quarter until Mitch Skelly once again stood up to deliver a body blow with a goal from long range.
Nathan Costley snuck forward soon after and kicked truly from his set shot to put the game beyond doubt, but the ultra-impressive French side continued to fight the match out until the final siren in a brave performance that was well and truly befitting of the occasion.
France 9.13 (67) def by Australian Spirit 12.12 (84)
Best on Ground:
Mitch Skelly (Australia)
Vincent Monnier (France)
Riley Brettell – AFL Europe