Saturday, April 28, 2018

Recap: Glendale Pass Seattle Test

The big question heading into tonight's match between the Glendale Raptors and Seattle Seawolves was whether Glendale were going to run through the competition or be challenged. Consider that partially answered with a 19-15 win for Glendale. It wasn't dominating but the result also never seemed too much in doubt. The Raptor defense stymied Seattle time and time again while on offense the decision making of both Shaun Davies and Will Magie led to the Raptors picking up points at crucial junctures. Seattle had plenty of good moments but Glendale seemed like the team that has really been together for years. A meeting at the end of the season between the two teams could go very differently.

Seattle were given a huge advantage early as Glendale's Max De Achaval was shown yellow for taking out Phil Mack in the air. However, Glendale used their savvy to not only take time off the clock--for example choosing to scrum and then purposely getting a reset--but they also picked up a penalty from Will Magie to take a 3-0 lead.

Take the jump to read more.
Once they were back to full strength Glendale didn't let up either. They easily had the bulk of the possession through the first quarter of the match and when Seattle did have the ball the Raptors stood tall in defense. Soon Magie was able to add a second penalty to make it 6-0.

Seattle showed some strong defense of their own. Vili Toluta'u was immense all game and was a breakout player. Multiple times on defense he came away with a big win, including one special steal with Glendale feet form the line.

Glendale would eventually add their first try thanks to a bit of luck. The ball was spilled and soccer kicked back to the wing. From there a grubber was put in and Zach Fenoglio slid in for the opening try. The conversion missed but Glendale were up 11-0. Seattle immediately responded with a Brock Staller penalty to make it 11-3 at halftime.

Despite the start of a pretty heavy rain in the second half Glendale came out the aggressors and were rewarded with a Harley Davidson try in the corner. Again the conversion was off.

For their part Seattle didn't look like they had much going in the second half. That changed until about halfway through the half when Seattle finally found some rhythm. Multiple times they had chances but either saw the ball slip out of their hands or have Glendale come up big in defense. Eventually they found the breakthrough. After a Glendale penalty on a scrum--Seattle had the better of that department on the day--Shaun Davies took a quick tap and a few phases later Toluta'u was in for the try. The conversion cut the lead to 16-10.

Glendale had a chance to go for points shortly after the restart but Magie missed. Still, Glendale showed a lot of rugby IQ as they were able to wind down the clock and add another penalty from Magie to extend their lead.  With only ten minutes left Seattle needed to make a move. They scored a late try from George Barton but time was up and Glendale came away with the win.

With their toughest win under their belts the competition is Glendale's to lose. Anything can happen over the next several weeks but through two matches (a quarter of the season) Glendale are the only team with two wins. Bonus points will be a factor and a missed point tonight could be big.

Glendale play Utah next week while Seattle have the week off.

Glendale Raptors

Tries: Fenoglio, Davidson
Penalties: Magie (3)


Tries: Toluta'u, Barton
Conversions: Staller
Penalties: Staller

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