Utah falls to Miami on the road

MIAMI — A rough first 40 minutes, compounded by a bevy of penalty cards issued early in the second half, conspired to deal the Utah Warriors a 20-19 loss at the hands of the Miami Sharks on Saturday.

Fatongia Paea scored his first ever try for the Warriors in extra time to secure a bonus point for his team, which provided some consolation for Warriors Coach Greg Cooper, despite everything that went wrong.

“We probably didn’t deserve it, to be honest,” Cooper said of securing a bonus point by losing by seven or less points. “The fact that we showed some courage to come back and get it is promising, and it just shows that we won’t give in. But again, we just sort of went into our shells, a little, and didn’t execute what we talked about this week.”

Miami dominated possession throughout the first half, as the Warriors proved sluggish coming out in the tropical heat with Cooper unable to identify any legitimate reason for it.

“We felt we were ready, and there’s really no excuse,” Cooper said. “We just made too many errors on the attack and with our defense. We just can’t be like that.”

The Sharks opened up the scoring with a penalty kick in the 25th minute before adding a try in the 31st to stretch their lead to 10-0. Another defensive gaffe in the final minute of the half saw Miami make a long run-out by virtue of a missed tackle to add on another seven points to lead 17-0 at the break.

The Warriors came out like a new team in the second half, and immediately proved more potent on their attack. The first 10 minutes of play in the second half saw the Warriors cross into the try zone on two occasions, but couldn’t touch the ball down for a score on both occasions.

Utah reached near the try line yet again in the 51st minute when a ruckus caused the officials to issue a debilitating red card to Warriors forward Dylan Men with Miami incurring a yellow card following a long video review.

“We’re going to take a look at that because Dylan is a guy with an impeccable disciplinary record,” Cooper said of the penalties. “But yeah, that put us under pressure, but look, we fought until the end and we just need to make sure that we start better than that.”

Three minutes later saw Paea get issued a yellow card just minutes after entering the game before Miami was issued another one of its own in the 59th minute. Miami extended its lead to 20-0 in between all of it with a penalty kick which Utah responded to in the 75th with a try scored by Onehunga Havili to cut the lead to 20-5 after Joel Hodgson’s conversion kick attempt bounced off the crossbar.

Hodgson did kick through his final conversion kick after Paea’s try scored in extra time, but it was of little significance  with Utah being dealt a tough 20-19 loss.

“We didn’t get into it early enough,” Cooper said. “We gave them some early defensive errors, which led to tries and then we were just inaccurate with our attack. We were just too inaccurate today, and we came in with an attack mentality that we didn’t find.”

With the loss Utah falls to 4-6 on the season and will next travel to take on the NOLA Gold this coming Saturday.


"I was able to bring my family to three games. It was a lot of fun for all the kids, my wife, and myself. The atmosphere is very family-friendly for even my youngest kids. I had 4 children attend the pregame Jr. Warriors clinics on 2 separate occasions; they had a lot of fun with those experiences and it was a very positive and encouraging environment."