Warriors eager for home opener against Dallas
HERRIMAN, Utah — The Salt Lake City area has undergone heavy snow storms leading up to the Utah Warriors’ first home match of the 2023 MLR season this Saturday versus the Dallas Jackals. And while heavy snow and cold isn’t exactly ideal weather conditions for most, players for the Warriors are more than fine with the conditions.
“From my point of view, I’ll take the cold any day,” said Warriors prop Paul Mullen. “When it’s hot, it’s tough to cool down and when it’s cool (you feel) you can work harder. So I’m not complaining. We had a good session outside on Tuesday, and you could say it’s not ideal conditions, but we’re ready.”
After suffering a first round loss to the San Diego Legion on the road, Warrior players are excited to get back home where they believe they enjoy a distinct advantage. Thousands are expected to be in the stands on Saturday, braving the cold weather to lend their typical support at Zions Bank Stadium.
“It’s awesome to play in front of Warriors Nation,” said Warriors center Calvin Whiting. “That’s why we do what we do. It’s so exciting to be out there in front of the crowd — it’s thrilling. It’s why we show up here every day for that 80 minutes on the field in front of our home crowd.”
The Warriors hope to put forward a better 80 minutes this time around than during last week’s 33-17 loss at the hands of the Legion. Players are confident better play is certainly in store after taking last Saturday’s hard lesson to heart and making the necessary adjustments.
According to Whiting, the focus has been on the defense and to dominate early and to set more quickly on the offensive end.
“We had to take a smack in the mouth to learn what we really need to focus on,” Whiting said. “We’ve worked on certain things to get better, so I’m excited for this weekend.”
Leading the work effort has been new head coach Greg Cooper, along with top assistant coaches Shaun Davies and Robbie Abel, all of whom both Whiting and Mullen expressed great confidence in.
“It’s been a night and day difference with Cooper,” Whiting said. “It’s so refreshing to have that input from him as a coach and you can tell by his pedigree and what he’s done throughout the years.”
As for Davies, who coaches the backs, Whiting feels a great level of comfort, stating, ““He’s a cool guy and he’s hilarious. But the best thing about Shaun is he does so much homework for us. He dedicates so much time watching film and making sure that we’re prepared…He’s committed to you and will push you to be the best that you can.”
Mulllen, meanwhile, feels better prepared for the early season this time around given Abel’s presence year-round as opposed to last season when he joined the season only after the first few games.
“It’s great to have him in here and go throughout the preseason with a coach,” Mullen said. “Robbie has a good playing background. He’s played all over down there in Australia and New Zealand…he can relate quite a bit and I love his passion.”
The Jackals come to Zions Bank Stadium on the heels of incurring a 33-12 opening round loss at home to the Houston Sabercats. And although the Warrior players certainly respect their next opponent, they’re confident that the home crowd and the elements will lend a distinct advantage come Saturday.
“I don’t think many players want to come up to this altitude — especially with the cold in play,” Whiting said. “So I think we have a pretty good advantage. We train in it every day and it’s what we know. It’s in our DNA and not there’s, so we feel we can take an advantage with that.”
UTAH WARRIORS VS. DALLAS JACKALS
Date: Saturday, February 25
Time: 2:00 PM MST
Where: ZIONS BANK STADIUM, Herriman
Broadcast: KMYU, TRN, ESPN700
The Rugby Alliance Officially Formed: Stade Toulousain and Utah Warriors Unite to Elevate Rugby to New Heights
SALT LAKE CITY (Sept. 21, 2023) – Stade Toulousain, led by President
Largest Scrum in History Bested Guinness World Record after USA Eagles Victory over Stade Toulousain
SALT LAKE CITY (Sept. 17, 2023) – A new Guinness World Record
SANDY, Utah (September 15, 2023) — Five Utah Warriors athletes will pull
Due to Public Demand, Matchup Between the USA Men’s Rugby Team and France’s Stade Toulousain is Rescheduled to Saturday, Sept. 16 at 7 p.m.
SALT LAKE CITY (Aug. 21, 2023) – Due to public demand, the
HERRIMAN, Utah (August 17, 2023) — The Utah Warriors have selected Josh