The first official ANZAC Cup between the Australian and French women took place on a cold Saturday afternoon in the small town of Villesr-Bretonneux. After a scratch match between the two countries last year on the same weekend this year’s instalment was set to be a scintillating encounter.
In a sign of respect both sides lined up to sing the national anthems and shortly after the first women’s match played between Australia and France was underway.
The two sides started at a frantic pace. Right from the first bounce the skills and intensity were incredible. Belinda Jolly, the Australian teams token Kiwi, was dominant in the middle of the park, everything she touched turned to gold.
Full-Forward, Emma-Jane Pinyon, was wreaking havoc in the fifty-meter arc bagging a handful of early goals.
The Australian’s gained the ascendancy from the first bounce and looked like a team that had played seasons together. They went into the main break with a good lead. The French still had a glimmer of hope and their ferocity around the ball provided them with a chance.
A third quarter, 3 goal blitz up forward from Australia’s, Hayley ‘Noodle’ Canton, put the game out of reach for the French side.
The scoreboard didn’t reflect the contest at hand, with the French being more than competitive through the midfield with Camille Portal & Claire Pérez toiling hard all day. They simply lacked polish and structure going forward.
The intensity around the football was immense all day and the French, with limited substitutions, never gave up. The more experienced Aussies capitalised and continually sling-shotted the ball from their half-back line in many an attacking foray.
Notable mentions must go to Aussie Rules newcomer Fliss Moffatt, from Australia, whose adept ruck work and marking proved pivotal in providing an advantage for the Aussies and Claire Pérez from the French, who never gave up in the midfield.
Best on ground honours went to Belinda Jolly for Australia and Camille Portal for France. Both girls were clear stand outs for their respective sides and were crucial to their teams getting first use of the ball from the midfield.