The annual AMNRL War in the shore was played over the weekend of 3 August at Sea Isle City New Jersey. The last full round of the 2013 season was to be played with the new kids on the block, Southampton Dragons taking on the New York Northern Raiders, Front runners New York Knights were taking on the Pennsylvania Bulls and NOVA to take on the Connecticut Wildcats.
Unfortunately the Southampton Dragons could not get enough players and travel to the War on the Shore and thus the game was given as a forfeit to the Raiders, their first win of the season. The other two games saw two massive blow outs with the two top teams dominating and win by over 50 points each.
However, there was some excitement as well with history being made in the USA game with them adopting the NRL 2 referee policy. Two referees controlled the middle for both games and it seemed to work very well. Certainly the players had no complaints.
The Pennsylvania Bulls are a team in rebuilding. There is no lack of enthusiasm in the team and the players certainly have the size to match it with the top teams in the AMNRL but the weekends match against the New York Knight showed that there is still much work to be done on the defence and making the most of opportunities.
The 70-00 score line probably did not reflect the true gladiatorial conflict that this was. the hits were big and both teams were willing to throw the ball around, but where mistakes were made the Knights made the best use of them. The Bulls came close on several occasion to the New York Line but the knights defence installed panic into the Bulls attack and bad options in kicks or the last play the ball saw them thwarted every time.
The scoring was opened by the Knights in the first 5 minutes through Brendon Bellatoni and unlike last week where the conversions were hard to come by, Centre Pete Jordan was spot on this time with a 92% record kicking 11/12 conversions. Dan Layfield was next in and then Andrew moody went on to post a hat-trick of tries to take the score to 30-0 after 23 minutes. Dan Layfield ran in his second of three tries at the 30 minute mark and Will Johnston rounded out the 1st half with a great run from the middle of the field. At the break the score was 42-0.
The second half saw the Bulls defence tighten a bit, not allowing as many tries through, with only five of the 4-pointers rather than seven. C. J. Cortalano opened the scoring on the second stanza and it then took another 10 minutes fro big number 28, Dan layfield to run in his third. A few minutes later it was lock James Carter to run in the thirst try of the half and 5 minutes later Andrew Moody ran in for his fourth try of the match. It took then 10 minutes and right on the hooter for goal kicker and Pete Jordan to get over the line and convert his own try to take the Knights to a emphatic 70-0 victory.
The small crowd of about 50 then saw the Wildcats take on the Eagles. The Eagles are one of the newest teams around, reforming last year after the Fairfax eagles had disbanded. They had been in the top 2-3 all season and this would be a real test to see where they truly sat in the season. This was a 2 v 3 clash and a lot was at steak here a home final as well as seeing who would take the 4th spot and face the knights in the semis.
Right from the get go the Wildcats showed that they meant business. Injured from last week saw many of NOVAs imports from Australia not travel to New Jersey and this had a significant impact on their defensive and offensive capabilities.
It took only 1 minute for Dennis Schmeiler to rack up the first points and goal kicker and fullback Kristian Freed was on song with his kicking. He would eventually kick 9/10 conversions through the match. Luke Barron and Freed then racked up another three tries between them, with Barron scoring two and Freed one. Charlie Rizzo decided to get in on the cat as well as Curtis Cunz to score a try each and go to the half time break with a commanding 36-00 lead.
The second half opened much like the first. It took only a couple minutes for the Wildcats to open the scoring again through Kristian Freed who bagged his second try. NOVA certainly were trying and they too threatened the line on several occasions. They even managed to get over the try line only to be held up by the strong Wildcats defence. Luke Barron ran in his third try of the match on 50 minutes with Phil Loaria and Curtis Cunz also getting over line to take it to the three quarter mark. After the interval, NOVA finally found their defensive measure and only let one try in for the last quarter. Dimitrios Magdalinos went in at the beginning of the last quarter and also converted his own try to round out the days proceedings 64-00.
The end to the 2013 regular season sees the Knight take top honours once more with the Wildcats jumping up from 3rd to second, replacing the Dragons who come down to 3rd spot. The Eagles have the fourth position and will face the juggernaut that are the New York Knights.
|1||New York Knights||7||6||0||0||1||284||64||220||6||30|
|4||Northern Virginia Eagles||7||3||0||3||1||144||218||-74||4||16|
|5||Bucks County Sharks||7||2||0||4||1||132||178||-46||3||11|
|7||New York Raiders||7||1||0||5||1||92||264||-172||2||6|
Semi Finals (10th August 2013): Northern Virginia Eagles @ New York Knights and Southampton Dragons @ Connecticut Wildcats
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