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Monday, May 29 2017 @ 08:57 PM ACST

Aviators Avoid Spoon, Lions Claim Minor Premiership



The Blagnac Aviators have negotiated their first season in the CNFA and finished with a smile after enjoying a 40 point victory over the Perpignan Tigers. Their second win of their debut season has seen them leapfrog their Toulouse siblings, the Toulouse Hawks, to claw their way off the bottom of the ladder.

The final score saw the Aviators down the Tigers 113 to 73.

The Blagnac Aviators will sit down now and measure their success over the course of the season, but they will be delighted to have won their first game against the Hawks earlier in the season. To claim another win against the Tigers will very likely see the club rank their first season as “above expectations” and an exciting platform to build on for next season.

Also above expectations would be the efforts of the ALFA Lions. The club downed the Bordeaux Bombers in their final match with a resounding 51 point victory. In doing so, the Lions have gone through their season undefeated with seven wins from their seven home and away games – a feat that they could only dare to dream about pre-season. The win is the ideal preparation for finals action.

Final scores saw the Lions down the Bombers 142 to 91.

The Tigers and Bombers would both be disappointed that they missed their chance to finish the season with wins and a positive note for next season. But both performed well at times across the season.

The Bombers won only two games, but remained competitive in all of their matches – their loss on the weekend to the Lions being their heaviest for the season. They were unlucky to lose to the Cergy-Pontoise Coyotes by just three points. Their fifth placed finish is probably a fair assessment.

The Perpignan Tigers won two of their first three matches and looked set to enjoy their best season yet. However, a couple of heavy 100+ point defeats upset the apple cart and their last round loss was certainly a game that got away. But a seven point loss to the Cockerels in Paris, and pushing the Lions to a 17 point result proved that the Lions are potentially better than sixth place would suggest.

The Toulouse Hawks might well have claimed the wooden spoon, but they are also very aware that their sacrifices to help the Aviators get started provide an inaccurate reflection of where they sit. It is certainly possible that both the Hawks and Aviators grow over the off-season – both having the potential to challenge for finals next season.

The finals series comes next with the Lions, Coyotes, Cockatoos and Cockerels eyeing the 2016/17 flag. Details will be confirmed soon, but at this stage all four teams will believe they are a chance to go all the way. The Lions, after their tremendous home and away season, deservedly hold favouritism, but finals time is a different beast to what has happened before.

The Cockatoos are reigning champions and know what it takes to win a flag. So do the Cockerels, the league’s most successful club. The Coyotes are desperate to turn their form of the past few seasons into their first flag. All of these teams will have the Lions in their sights in what is sure to be an exciting finals series.

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