Each week AFL Europe will take a look around the continent at the Australian Football highlights and thrilling matches. This Around the Grounds article delves into the standout performances from the weekend’s action and is presented by PSS International Removals.
PARIS COCKERELS REIGN SUPREME IN CNFA
While the Richmond Tigers were celebrating in Melbourne on Saturday, the 2019 CNFA Grand Final was taking place in Lyon as the Paris Cockerels took on Stade Toulouse in the battle to decide this seasons premiers. This Grand Final was meant to take place back in June, but torrential storms in Lyon – and across France – forced the game to be cancelled due to flooding. The start of the game was tight and contested, a typical start to a Grand Final. However, after the two teams initially exchanged blows, Stade Toulouse started to get on top with their ball movement as they started to control the match with their physicality and long kicking game style. At that stage of the game, the Cockerels had no answer to the fast start by Stade Toulouse, and at half time, Toulouse was up by 29 points. At half time, the Cockerels made some tactical and positional changes, trying to add more power through the midfield and try to open up their forward line more. Those changes ended up being a masterstroke by Paris and changed the game, because, by the time the three-quarter time siren sounded, the Cockerels were up by 30 points – a turn around of nearly 60 points in just one quarter. Toulouse tried to get back into the game, adding a couple of goals to their score, but the Cockerels continued their momentum as they increased the lead, and when the final siren blew, a 55-point victory secured them another CNFA premiership. Paris Cockerels player Ben Simpson capped off a perfect Saturday after seeing his Tigers win the AFL Grand Final in the morning before being named as Best On Ground for his team on Saturday afternoon.
Final Scores (CNFA)
Men’s: Stade Toulouse (13. 8. 86) defeated by Paris Cockerels (21. 15. 141).
AFL IRELAND WOMENS NEWEST TEAM IMPRESS IN ROUND THREE
Round Three of the AFL Ireland Women’s Premiership season took place on the weekend, and after the final round of the regular season, all the teams have been decided for the finals series later in October. The West Clare Waves are guaranteed a spot in this year’s Grand Final for the second year in a row after they won three out of three on the weekend to conclude the regular season undefeated after 11 games. Battling it out in the Preliminary Final to join the Waves in the Grand Final, will be the Dublin Angels and Cork Vikings, who finished second and third respectively. Out of all the action-packed football on the weekend, it was the match between the Dublin Angels and Cill Dara Sharks that stood out. The Sharks are the newest team in the league and have been impressive in their inaugural season. They came up against a strong Angels side needing to win to confirm their spot in the Preliminary Final. It was a tight game, with both teams giving away very little to their opposition and both sides were impressive with their accuracy in front of goal. There was only a single behind kicked in the match, but it ended up being a valuable point as it helped provide the Angels with enough breathing space in the final moments to remain calm and secure a seven-point victory. Despite the Sharks continuing to impress, they just fell short against a more experienced Angels team, who secured a finals spot thanks to a seven-point victory. For the Sharks, they will pick up one win on the day, and will now look to finish the season on a high against the West Dublin Garrisons in the Plate Finals on the 20th of October in Dublin for Finals Day.
Final Scores (AFL Ireland Women’s)
Women’s: Dublin Angels (3. 1. 19) defeated Cill Dara Sharks (2. 0. 12).
DRESDEN WOLVES AND WEST LOTHIAN EAGLES TRAVEL TO PRAGUE
Saturday saw three teams come together and play a friendly in Prague as the West Lothian Eagles and Dresden Wolves travelled to the capital of the Czech Republic to take to the field with the Prague Dragons. Teams were mixed around with no scores kept, but it was a great opportunity for players from three teams in different countries come together to play a game and celebrate the sport on what was AFL Grand Final weekend. As hosts, the Dragons made sure that the post-match function included the AFL Grand Final being shown on the big screen at an Australian pub, a fitting end to a great day for all those involved. All three teams have finished their seasons for 2019 but enjoyed the chance to get a game in with perfect weather for footy before the European winter arrives in a couple of months. It was such a successful weekend that already the Eagles and Dragons are discussing the prospect of another event, ‘Round Two’, which could be hosted by Prague again or will see the Eagles put their hands up as these three teams look to build a strong connection with each other to keep growing Australian Football in Europe.
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