Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Vancouver 7s: Eagles Player Grades

Even though the Eagles finished as Plate runners-up in Vancouver it's hard to give them low marks. They came off playing two weeks of hard sevens and all the duties that came with hosting in Vegas. They also came into the tournament having  made several changes.In the end had it not been for a couple of mistakes against Fiji they could have made the top four and even the final.

Martin Iosefo (8): Martin Iosefo was a stud in Vancouver. He justly earned a dream Team selection after having a fantastic weekend. His hard running put the Eagles on the scoreboard multiple times and his work at the breakdown was excellent. It's hard to replace a Andrew Durutalo but Iosefo is coming close.

Ben Pinkelman (8): Pinkelman was also a stud. Over this week and in Vegas he has really come into his own as a player. He has great instincts, is fierce at the breakdown, and never stops. When the Eagles come back for Hong Kong Mike Friday is going to have some selection problems on his hands, in particular if Pinkelman will start.

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Madison Hughes (7): We thought that this was Hughes's best tournament of the season. He was active in making things happen on attack and his defense was right there at the top once again. His kicking was also solid.

Folau Niua (8.5): Iosefo may have made the Dream Team but for us the player of the tournament was Niua. He was on fine form in the match exemplified by his awareness in finding Perry Baker with multiple kicks over the top. He also created tries on several occasions but simply holding his pass. All around a great performance.

Danny Barrett (7): Barrett also had another solid tournament. Teams keyed in on him more this week so he wasn't able to do as much running as he normally would but that freed up space for his teammates.

Garrett Bender (7): Like Barrett, Bender was counted on to do a lot of the hard work at the breakdown and came away with multiple wins. If there is a knock it's that he should have taken on the last defender when he had his breakaway!

Perry Baker (7.5): Baker had a tremendous weekend as the top try scorer. His awareness with his teammates is only improving. With Carlin Isles running track Baker was counted on to do more and he delivered.

Nate Augspurger (6.5): Augspurger doesn't get enough credit for what he does. He's almost always counted on to come in off the bench and give the Eagles an extra spark. He nearly always comes through.

Pat Blair (6.5): Coming into the team after playing for the Falcons last week Blair added his expected grit. Like the rest of the subs he wasn't called on as frequently as he might have been in other tournaments but when he came on he was solid.

Seth Halliman (7.5): For having it be his first tournament Halliman played really well. There was little sign of inexperience and he was justly rewarded with a nice try.

Ben Leatigaga (6.5): Leatigaga was another player on debut and was also rewarded with a try. He didn't see a lot of time.

Thretton Palamo (6): Palamo didn't get as much time as you would expect. He had a couple of good moments but was largely silent. 


  1. I think the estimation and evaluation of Pinkelman and Iosefo is right on! However, I think the rest of the grades are a bit inflated considering the team was absolutely trounced against Samoa…, a disgusting lack of desire and determination was evident.

  2. If I were Mike Friday, I'd be tearing my hair out at Iosefo. He's clearly talented, clearly faster than Duratalo, and has great potential. But I lost count of how many knock-ons and missed tackles I saw from him. He has a long way to go to replace Duratalo's steady presence