Players: M. Launais (c), B. Germond, M. Cowan, B. Simpson, A. Round, P. Erra, J. Frossart, L. Burgess, C. Woods, A. Moore, E. Descours, S. Ryan, D. Blechynden
Warm and dry conditions prevailed as the Cockerels played hosts to the unbeaten Toulouse Hawks. It was great to see some spectators and support from around the club turn out on the day to give voice and color. Congratulations to Luke Burgess who joined the ranks as a Cockerel with his first game this day.
It was a hot ball from the first bounce with the import Andrew "Sevo" Moore getting right amongst the action supported by Cowan and Bushy in the ruck. Toulouse were taking it right up to the home side early and were able to get 2 on 1 for an easy first goal to the game. The Cocks were quick to respond though answering at the other end. The sapping conditions were really making it hard for both teams and Paris lacked the finish on their hand balling which meant that several opportunities went begging. Pierre Erra was coming from the bench and Putin in a huge work rare around the ground. It's been interesting to watch Pierre develop so quickly to be one of the Cocks most impressive "inside" players. We would see plenty more of him today. At the end of the first quarter it was an even affair on the new "you beaut Swadda" scoreboard.
The mercurial Benny "Jedi" Simpson made a much welcome entrance into the game in the second quarter lifting the engine of the midfield considerably. All watched in awe as he plucked loose balls from the ground as if it was a magicians trick. The handballs through the middle started to find targets. Toulouse were hampered by an injury early in the game and struggled to keep up with the ball movement in the energy sapping conditions. The cocks got plenty of ball in the forward line but were unable to take clean marks and effect set shots on goal.
Amine was making some huge contributions across the center of the ground with several great spoils, second efforts and some marks under pressure. The lack of Toulouse numbers flooding back to the forward line meant that the Paris defense was able to mop up and clear the ball back out. Some solid midfield pressure meant that Paris was able to post an insurmountable score at three quarter time.
Cam Woods was turning back the clock and kicked an incredible goal from the pocket on an angle that must have had him kissing the boundary line. Slightly ironic as the rest of us seem to be missing them from everywhere else!
Cowan and Bushy were working hard until the end. Blechy was able to get into the game and make an impression whilst first Gamer Luke Burgess playing in the attack was able to draw a key Toulouse defender out of the forward zone whilst kicking a couple of nice goals too.
The Cockerels will be buoyed by the result but wary that this Toulouse team will be bolstered considerably come the finals by players who are injured or who were otherwise unavailable for this game. The forward structure will need to improve a great deal considering the number of behinds kicked. The cocks could be kicking themselves out of a semi final if a similar performance was to occur? We'll also need to work on disposal around the ground and in particular into the forward line where we didn't give or key marking options much of a chance.
A great improvement over the season after losing their first two games. A strong 5 game winning run looks to have secured a second place finish on the ladder and a home final.