Week 10 features the return of a whole heap of internationals who left for tournament/test matches overseas. It also features a return to the two match a week format, what is sure to be a relief to everyone.
The first game of the weekend on Saturday, June 18, will be between the skidding San Diego Breakers and the single-win San Francisco Rush. Sunday, meanwhile, is sure to feature a rousing match-up between the undefeated Denver Stampede and the try-crazy Ohio Aviators.
So without further ado, let’s take a look at how each match should measure up this week:
Saturday- San Francisco at San Diego
San Diego has had a rough go of it these last couple of weeks. In week 8, they had to duke it out with Denver with first place on the line, coming within a point of overtaking the Stampede. Then last week, they fielded a unit that was missing a few key elements (Te’o, Mackenzie, and Buydens) on their way to an embarrassing 55-29 point loss to Ohio, sending them tumbling into third place.
Meanwhile, San Francisco is coming off a two week period of rest after getting their first win of the season over Ohio in week 7, a match which also featured the PRO debut of All Blacks legend Mils Muliaina. However, if the Rush want to extend their ‘win streak’ to two, it’s going to take a lot more than an aging kiwi legend to get past this Breaker squad.
For San Francisco, the problem this season hasn’t been getting points on the board for themselves. Rather, it’s been a ‘stopping the other team from scoring more times than them’ kind of problem. While The Rush have scored a respectable average of 27.5 points per game this season, they have allowed a league-leading average of 38.3 points to their opponents.
Much like San Diego, San Francisco has shown flashes of brilliance with the play of its wings. In particular, Orene Ai’I has proven why he was such a high profile addition to PRO this year, displaying the footwork and timing of a rugby mastermind. The presence of Ai’I is now even further complimented by the arrival of Mils Muliaina, who brings an even more define aura of leadership into the locker room, and was the first to find the try zone in their week 7 win over Ohio.
Interestingly enough, the top scorers of both teams currently sit in the top two spots of total points scored this season. San Diego’s Kurt Morath leads the league with 95 points (13.5 AVG points per game), while Volney Rouse is right behind in second with 67 points, (11.1 AVG points per game). Morath is lightyears ahead of other primary kickers in this league, but Rouse has at least been able to find the try zone twice this year, on top of having one of the most accurate boots in the league.
Though the likes of Rouse, Ai’I, and Muliaina are sure to make a difference down the stretch this season, my gut tells me to ‘Back the Breakers’ on this one. San Diego’s wings, when on form, are efficient and can get the breaks that gain the valuable territory that either leads to tries, or sets up Morath for three points.
San Francisco will probably keep this game close, even making San Diego sweat at times (which shouldn’t be hard in sunny California). They may even be able to pull out the win if they can win the turnover game. But I doubt it, as San Diego’s ability to put points up at a fast, consistent rate will probably prove to be more than the struggling SF defense can handle.
San Diego- 41
San Francisco- 30
Sunday- Ohio at Denver
On Sunday, Denver must once again have to push back against an opponent looking to move within striking distance of first place. Meanwhile, Ohio comes to town looking for a repeat of their dominating performance over San Diego last week.
As I raved about in my preview article last week, Ohio has been winning their games through scoring tries, and I absolutely love it. Not only that, it has made their point differential skyrocket way above that of other teams (+91).
There isn’t any one player you can point to as a fulcrum of this team’s success either. Aaron ‘Spike’ Davis, currently leads the league in tries with 7, while his teammates take up the next three spots on the top 5 (Sebastian Kalm-6, Filippo Ferrarini-4, and Dominic Waldouck-3).
The numbers say it all, which is that this offense, when on the attack, is near unstoppable. It doesn’t hurt to have the likes of Jamie Mackintosh plowing over 3 people on his way over the middle either.
Now, I say unstoppable, but this is Denver we’re talking about. While Ohio has blown out its fair share of opponents, Denver has done the same, while keeping it nail bitingly close in others. That’s not to say Denver struggles to stay ahead (they are undefeated after all), but it has more to do with the way they win.
Denver’s top scorer Will Magie (who is their primary kicker) currently has 50 points on the season (8.3 AVG points per game), while their top try scorers, Zachary Fenoglio and Maximo De Achaval, have three apiece. Having only won 3 of their games (50%) by more than one score this season, Denver’s incredible win streak has spoken more to their ability to shut down an opponent’s attack in the middle and especially at the goal line, rather than lighting up the scoreboard themselves.
This is going to be a close one. I’m tempted to go with Ohio, but Denver has had a week off to rest, and are going to be a much bigger challenge than an injury riddled San Diego team. This game goes down to the final minute, but The Stampede will stay undefeated.
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Penguin Tundra Sports Blog was created in 2016 by a very bored college student who was obsessed with Rugby and Football. That same college student knew how to write pseudo-intelligently, so what better way to show off than to create a blog. Along your journey though the Tundra's domain, you may come across outlandish opinions, horrible spelling errors, and some shit that is just outright wrong. Well then, you should comment, give my blog more attention, and we will have our day in internet court. Otherwise, I hope you enjoy talking about sports as much as I do.
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