The Gabians, Australian football club, have made their nest in Palavas. Four of their players have been called up to the France team for the Euro in Croatia.
Foot passes, hand passes, an oval pitch, eight posts… the rules of Australian rules football may seem strange to the uninitiated. They are however a handful of enthusiasts to dispute the other oval ball, on the edges of the Mediterranean.
« I went to test one day, and I loved it »
« James (Accambray) had the project to launch a club around Montpellier« explains Jérémy Sardin, player at the initiative of the project, who had to move to Toulouse to practice in recent seasons.
It’s the return of Australian football to Montpellier and Hérault, more than five years after the stoppage of the Firesharks, the first Montpellier football club.
Jérôme Canonici was part of the first aerial struggles, ten years ago. « I had heard of this sport, but no more » he declares. « I went to test one day, and I loved it. »
Many selections in the France team later, Jérôme was contacted by the Gabians to be a coach and bring all his experience. The latter knows Jérémy Sardin very well, with whom he has played in the past.
Physical condition and good footwork
« I went to Australia for a few months »explains Sardin. « I was able to progress in contact with very good players. » Today in the middle, the one who passed on the virus to his younger brother Nicolas (attacker), has totaled since 2014, 48 selections for the France team.
On the Jockeys field, in Palavas-les-Flots, the Gabians train on a rugby field. « Our matches are 9v9.presents the coach. « The goal is to score a ‘goal’, at the foot, between the middle posts, which is worth six points. » On either side of these central posts, a post is placed on each side, and can bring a « behind », which is equivalent to a point.
The main qualities of a footy player? « A very good physical condition because we multiply the efforts, as well as a good footwork, the basis of this sport »analyzes Sardin.
« It’s up to them to seize their chance to be in the France team »
He will be in Croatia on Wednesday, and until Saturday, to compete in the Euro. “We are going to play 18 against 18, a model that we are not necessarily used to”he adds. « The favorites will be Ireland and England. »
To help him, he will be accompanied by three other Gabians who will not be cold on their wings. Aurélien Vidal, Nicolas Sardin and Noé Laureillard, who is starting this season and who was selected without even having played an official match.
« We have new players who are progressing very quickly and have great potential »concludes Jérôme Canonici. « It’s up to them to seize their chance to be in the France team. »