Utah 1-0 After Defense and Fitness Hold Austin Try-less
After having a week one bye, the Utah Warriors (1-0) looked to come out hot against an Austin Elite (0-2) side that lost on a last second penalty the week before.
Five minutes into the game, after two rough lineouts the Warriors, in Austin territory, went 11 phases off of a scrum ending with Fetu’u Vainikolo connecting to Arawa Elkington for a try in the corner, to open up the match. T. Guillmin of the Elite responded with a penalty kick for 3 points of his own. He was the Elites main offensive weapon converting 3 of his 5 penalty kicks.The match continued on with the Elite relying heavily on the boot of their fullback S. Jaoudat, to put pressure on the Warrior defense but those efforts seemed to fall short against the Warrior back three. The score was 7-6 when the Warrior pack dominated a lineout and mauled their way toward the Austin tryline for L. Williams to dot down the second try of the game. Another Gulliaman penalty kick brought the score to 14-9 at the half.
A try-less second half from both teams brought about a test of defense that Utah met head on. Late penalties caused the warriors to play the last 15 minutes of the match down a man. But the fitness and toughness of the Warriors prevailed, crushing any attempt to advance by the Elite. Captain Tim O’Malley who had been 2/2 on conversions for the day slotted one last penalty kick bringing the score to 17-9 before the final whistle. The Warriors leave Austin with the win and the “Man of the Match” awarded to their starting flanker and try opener of the season, Arawa Elkington.
The victory places Utah, second in the 2019 MLR standings one point behind NOLA. The Warriors also had the largest win margin week one of he 2019 season. (8+)
Catch the Warriors on the road in two weeks after a bye week against San Diego Legion 3pm MT, Sunday Feb,17th.
A. Elkington UT(1)
L. Williams UT(1)
T. O’Malley UT(2)
T. O’Malley UT(1)
T. Guillmin AU (3)
Author: Wendell Whitehead
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