Seattle’s final road game was a hard-fought 53-36 victory over last year’s runners-up. The rivalry that started with the final between Glendale and Seattle gained momentum as this was a must-win for the Raptors.
Glendale’s first home loss couldn’t have come at a worse time. Currently on the outside of the playoffs, with three games remaining, the Raptors needed every point available to gain entry into the post season.
There was plenty of offense for both sides, where a bonus-point win by Glendale would catapult the Raptors over Seattle and into the fourth seed, and a Seawolves win would put them comfortably into the third spot.
Glendale kicked off to start, but a short box kick by JP Smith placed the ball into Glendale hands and put the patented Seawall to the test very early in the match.
Glendale had an enterprising run on the wing by John Ryberg to put the Raptors to within 10 meters of the try-line. The continuous onslaught by the Raptors proved successful and the scoring was started early as Ryberg got the ball again on the wing and this time sliced the edge and in for five points. Robbie Petzer converted the angled kick for the early Raptor lead 7-0 (3rd minute).
The restart allowed Seattle to gain territory deep into Glendale’s side. Some bruising short runs by their forwards inched the Seawolves toward the try-line. A high-tackle call gave the Seawolves a chance to maul in from a 5-meter line-out. The initial phase stopped short, but the Seattle forwards would not be denied as hooker Stephan Coetzee grounded the ball over the line for Seattle’s five-point answer. Brock Staller with a rare miss, and Glendale’s lead is cut to two points, 7-5 (10th Minute)
Seattle took full advantage of a Glendale penalty off the restart and a line-out near the Raptor’s 22-meter line was swung out to a waiting Staller, who broke a tackle and waltzed in for a try. Staller’s attempt to convert his own try was again unsuccessful, but Seattle gained the lead 10-7 (12th minute).
The Seawolves carried that momentum into the next possession, as a streaking George Barton crashed his way through the middle of the Raptor defense and in under the posts. Staller would not be denied his third conversion attempt as Seattle put up 17 unanswered points in as many minutes to go up 17-7.
After some back and forth, Glendale proved they are in for the fight as they inched down into Seattle territory, but the Seawall remained strong, only allowing a penalty kick by Petzer to make it 17-10 (23rd minute).
On the restart, Ryberg sprinted back across into Seattle territory but the Seawall was waiting and stopped the Raptor attack after several phases. The Seawolves immediately responded with a pass out to Staller on the wing, who streaked down the sideline and off-loaded to a supporting Matt Turner and the score under the posts for Seattle’s bonus-point try. Staller added the conversion and Seattle completed the 14-point swing bringing the score to 24-10 (27th minute).
Glendale answered quickly behind tremendous individual effort by locks Brendan Daly and Luke White. Petzer’s conversions were good as Glendale tied the game at 24 with 14 unanswered points late in the first half.
Seattle broke the tie as the half-time bell sounded. Staller, after an excellent run up the sideline and a cheeky up-and-under kick he was able to collect, split the uprights for a 3-point penalty kick to bring the Seawolves back in front 27-24.
Nearly two minutes into the second half, Coetzee scored his second try of the day as he peeled off a driving line-out maul and dove over the line. Staller’s conversion found the mark as Seattle’s lead is extended back to 10 points, 34-24.
Another punishing Ryberg run up the side was stopped short, but he was able to offload to Dylan Taikato-Simpson who scampered the remaining seven meters and in under the posts for a Raptor bonus-point try. Petzer’s conversion was good, making it a 3-point game again, 34-31 (46th minute).
A minute later, JP Smith intercepted a pass off the restart and went in untouched and Staller converted the try to give Seattle the 10-point lead again 41-31 (48th minute).
Three tries within the first 10 minutes of the second half shows the magnitude of the game. The intensity continued as both defenses stayed strong, not allowing any movement in the score. Seattle head coach Richie Walker noted toward the last 20 minutes; “For us, is to stick to our game-plan, keep our composure. We know how good Glendale is, especially at home. We have had our opportunities; we just have to make the most of them and finish them.” “What we don’t want to do is sit back, so for the last 20 minutes we definitely going to put pressure on ‘D’ and try to force some mistakes.”
The Seawall immediately headed those words, forcing an errant pass, stopping a Raptor attack on the sideline.
The ensuing possession pounded down the field, culminating with another try by JP Smith, breaking a tackle and dotting the ball under the posts. Staller added the conversion extend Seattle’s lead to 17, 48-31 (62nd minute).
4 minutes later, Seattle is again knocking on the door with great support and it was Turner finding himself with the ball and touches it down in the corner for his second try, and essentially the nail in the coffin for Glendale. Staller’s angled kick misses the mark, but the damage is done 53-31.
Glendale showed signs of desperation, but made it work to their advantage as Kody O’Neil took a pass from Ryberg and barreled in for his first try of the season. William Magie’s conversion attempt was unsuccessful and Glendale remains behind 53-36 (71st minute).
The Seawall remained strong for the remainder of the match, thwarting any attack Glendale put forth. As the clock ticked over 80 minutes, Seattle forced Glendale to lose the ball in the try-zone, which allowed Phil Mack to boot the ball out of bounds for the final whistle and a 53-36 Seawolves win.
Seattle gets the five-point win, while Glendale gains a valuable bonus point for scoring 4 tries.
Seattle (10-4-0 51TP) remains in third place and is back at home for the remaining two games. The first is Sunday against Utah Warriors (2-11-1 17TP), who is out of playoff contention, but could still play spoiler.
Glendale has an upward climb at sixth place and is on the road against the Toronto Arrows, who are looking to stay in the hunt for a post-season berth.
Seattle Seawolves 53, Glendale Raptors 36
Tries: Stephan Coetzee (10’), (42’), Brock Staller (12’), George Barton (17’), Matt Turner (27’), (66’) JP Smith (48’), (62’)
Conversions: Brock Staller 5/8 (18’), (28’), (43’), (49’), (63’)
Penalty Kicks: Brock Staller 1/1 (40’)
Tries: John Ryberg (3’), Brendan Daly (30‘), Luke White (35’), Dylan Taikato-Simpson (46’), Kody O’Neil (71’)
Conversions: Robbie Petzer 4/4 (4’), (31’), (36’), (47’), William Magie (0/1)
Penalty Kicks: Robbie Petzer 1/1 (23’)