CNFA Grand Final Preview
Riley Brettell – AFL Europe
From Paris, Bordeaux, Lyon & Perpignan, it’s all roads leading to Toulouse this Saturday for a mouth-watering match-up between the Paris Cockerels and Coyotes de Cergy-Pontoise on CNFA Grand Final Day.
Fans are set for a riveting culmination to the season if the regular season contest between the two sides is anything to go by, with the Cockerels prevailing in a nail-biter on that occasion but facing a passionate Coyotes side who will be out to turn the tables, with the stakes insurmountably higher with a Premiership and Champions League 2019 place on the line.
The minor premiers from Paris will feature on the final day for the first time in three seasons after overcoming their Parisian rivals, the Cockatoos, in a hard-fought semi-final, and while they have the enviable chance to cap off an unbeaten season with a win on Saturday the Cockerels coach Mike Cowan has been keen to stress that this weekend will be far from a cakewalk.
“At times throughout the season we’ve struggled to get a full 15-player squad on the field, but the leadership group of the team has really stepped up and lifted us over the line during those games,” Cowan said.
“The previous match against the Coyotes was our hardest one for the season. They are a strong, skilled and determined team that has a real knack for getting the ball out of the pack and moving it fast into their forwards.”
“They [Coyotes] put their bodies on the line and attack the ball hard, so the key to beating them will be by using our skills to efficiently move the ball to our forwards and controlling the pace of the game.”
Cockerels and French National Team star spearhead Pierre Boscart looms as a potential match winner and is a player who continues to earn plaudits right around Europe as well as in Australia, having greatly impressed the crowd at the recent ANZAC Cup in Villers-Bretonneux.
While the Coyotes are wary of the star power that Boscart brings to the table along with that of Steven Ryan and Ben Simpson, coach Herve Desjardin says his side will be focusing on their own backyard rather than focusing on their opponents
The Coyotes enter the match with plenty of momentum after toppling the Toulouse Hawks in trying conditions in their semi-final, overcoming some pre-game travel drama on the way to the ground that saw a burst tyre on the motorway limit team preparations to only half an hour.
After five consecutive finals appearances, they will be eager to go one step further than last year to upset the Cockerels and claim the clubs first CNFA flag.