By Damian Flint, Date 9/8/12
The 2012 American National Rugby League playoff series continues this weekend with the semifinals in the Atlantic Conference. The winning teams will progress to Grand Final XV.
The defending champion New York Knights are looking to make it back to back championships, but in order to do so will have to get past a fired up Bucks County Sharks side that was narrowly defeated last week.
The Sharks have been slow out of the blocks in their last couple of matches, but can match it with any side in the competition if they’re on their game.
The Knights have been the epitome of consistency in the AMNRL this season, leading the conference from start to finish. With only the one blemish this year against the Pennsylvania Bulls, the Knights will head into the match as heavy favorites, as they look to secure their fourth AMNRL championship.
Players to watch:
Knights: Todd Fisher, Andrew Moody, and Luke Hume need to be contained if the Sharks have any chance of defeating the defending champions. Between them the trio has scored 24 tries and 190 total points this season with Fisher leading the competition with a personal tally of 114.
Sharks: Leading the way for the Sharks will be powerhouse second rower Zac Padgett. The inspirational forward has turned in some exceptional performances as of late and scored three tries in their resurgence against the Wildcats last weekend. Look for Padgett to be well supported by Phil Shipos and Ryan Sadano.
The PA Bulls are also looking to keep their winning streak going when they take on last year’s Grand Finalists the Connecticut Wildcats for a spot in this year’s championship game.
With only the one defeat during the regular season on opening day, the Bulls have also been a model of consistency in this year’s competition.
These teams played each other twice during the regular season. In the first match the Wildcats got the upper hand 38-18, while in the second matchup the Bulls bounced back to square the ledger with a 60-30 victory.
Players to watch:
Bulls: Kevin Wiggins has been one of the consistent performers for the Bulls and will look to take it up a notch in the playoffs. Also Look for Louis Tulio to add some spark to the backline while forward Corey Mayo could be unstoppable up the middle.
Wildcats: Michael Goward and Matt Walsh hold the key to the Wildcats championship chances. The duo has been in sensational form in recent weeks and will need to be at the forefront of the Wildcats attack if their team is to get across the line.
Saturday, August 11 – Semifinals
Wildcats @ Bulls 1pm EST Brandywine Rugby Field, West Grove, PA Sharks @ Knights 8pm EST Pier 40, Manhattan, NY