ANZAC CUP 2018 – WOMEN’S MATCH REPORT
The Australian spirit women kicked off the 10th Annual ANZAC Cup in the impressive fashion on Wednesday afternoon, overcoming a passionate and highly competitive French outfit by 53 points in Villers-Bretonneux.
On a big day for both nations and the local community, girls from both sides provided a contest befitting of the occasion in every way possible, with a hard-fought and extremely well-spirited match played in front of a strong crowd.
It was the French women who set the tone early on as a rousing rendition of La Marseillaise carried across to a dominant opening five minutes of the match, with the home side dictating terms and able to capitalise on their dominance courtesy of a classy finish on the run from Camille Portal.
The Australian side gradually worked their way into the match courtesy of some strong midfield work from Katie Stone, Annie Shewring and Caitlyn Jeffress, who gave their side the ascendency going forward and wrestled the lead back heading into quarter time.
Despite trailing at the first change, France started the second term just as they did the first and held the authority with a manic attack on the football and some sharp skills in transition to impress the big crowd, although they were unable to convert their work onto the scoreboard.
Caitlin Fay ensured that the Aussies avoided the same potency issues up the other end, putting her hand up for an early goal of the day contender and arresting momentum from the French with a spectacular dribble kick from a tight angle that sparked her teammates into gear.
From that point on the second term became the Maddy Murphy show, as the Aussie spearhead produced a blistering five-minute stint to kick three goals and provide her side a strong buffer to counter the fighting efforts of the Portal sisters, Melanie Leroy & Helene Pittet for France.
The women in blue continued to impress after halftime with Bridgett Allen owning the outer wing and Naima Al El Mouten lively up forward, but Aussie Caitlyn Jeffress added to the scoreboard pressure with the help of Australian captain Priscilla Lodge who provided a classy presence in the ruck.
The French highlight for the game came just prior to the final break when Melanie Colot dashed clear of three Australian defenders to reach a ground ball first and delivered a tidy soccered finish that would not look out of place at Russia’s Luzhniki Stadium this June.
Amy Taylor’s passion for the day was clear for all to see as she opened the scoring for the Australian’s in the final term, with a celebration that is likely to feature on ANZAC Cup highlights tapes for years to come and capping off a superb contest, where the final margin was far from reflective of the evenness of the match.
France 3.3 (21) def by Australian Spirit 11.8 (74)
Best on Ground
Annabel Shewring (Australia)
Camille Portal (France)
Riley Brettell – AFL Europe