Welcome to the Major League Rugby Grab Bag where I highlight some of the best things I’ve seen from around the league every week.
Saturday is a rugby day for every other team in the country not named the Seattle Seawolves.
Sundays are for the Seawolves.
Did you know that in the 52 regular and post-season matches that the Seawolves have played since the club was born in 2018, 30 of those matches have taken place on Sunday? When the 2022 regular season is all said and done Seattle will have played four more matches on Sundays. Had the 2020 season not been canceled, they’d have been able to add seven more to that total.
I’ve wondered out loud on several different occasions how the Seawolves end up playing so many matches on Sundays. It’s like tuning in to Sunday Night Football and seeing that the NFC East is playing. Again. It feels like it happens every week even though you know that’s not the case.
I’ve been racking my brain about how this rather useless fun fact could be beneficial or detrimental to the Seawolves, and I’ve only come up with one idea. If it has any impact – it probably doesn’t – I would assume that the fact that the Seawolves play so many matches on Sunday is a good thing because it potentially increases their exposure.
As I touched on in last week’s Grab Bag, Major League Rugby has done a good job spreading matches out over the course of the weekend. As it goes, though, matches still get stacked up on Saturday while there are usually only one or two matches that occur on Sunday afternoons and evenings.
The Rugby Network has provided fans with the ability to watch any match on-demand, but there is value in being the only match on the docket on a specific day. When there is only one match on the schedule, more people are going to watch it. So when the Seawolves are playing in a lone timeslot on a Sunday, more people are going to tune in. Combine that with the success they’ve experienced and I’d venture to guess that that’s enough to make a curious observer with no allegiance a Seawolves fan.
The fact that the Atlanta Braves were broadcast on TBS when Ted Turner owned the team certainly helped create more Braves fans.
Whether it boils down to venue availability or just the way the schedule falls, it’s something I’ve noticed and thought about this week.
Now let’s get into the Grab Bag!
Heartbreaker in Dallas
The Dallas Jackals hosted the Houston SaberCats in the first-ever professional rugby match in DFW on Saturday night, and it very well could have been the Match of the Season. That match had a little bit of everything, and the ending was as exciting as one could be. Unfortunately for the Jackals, they ended up on the wrong side of the scoreboard for the third consecutive week but they are making huge strides week in and week out. The first win of the season is oftentimes the hardest one to get which likely means that the first win in the history of a franchise is probably a pretty tough thing to secure. Especially when they’ve played against three clubs that are in their fifth season in the MLR. Looking ahead at Dallas’ schedule, there is no doubt that the Jackals will have their hands full. But there are definitely winnable matches on the horizon. If they continue to improve at the rate they currently are, that first win will occur sooner rather than later.
Try of the Week
Let me preface this by saying that the best team try that occurred in Round 3 was the one that the Houston SaberCats scored at the buzzer to beat the Dallas Jackals, but the best individual try in my opinion was the one that Dom Akina scored for the Austin Gilgronis in their win over the Utah Warriors.
What an effort! That’s 2021 MLR Player of the Year Mikey Te’o that he turns around! I got to see Akina up close and personal when he linked up with the American Raptors for the fall 2021 season. He’s one of the best athletes you’ll find on a rugby pitch and that try is living proof.
Rugby New York wing Ed Fidow has to be the early favorite for 2022 Player of the Year. It’s must-see stuff when he gets his hands on the ball. All he’s done is score three tries in two weeks while also making the final pass to set up Jason Emery for a try in their Round 3 matchup against Rugby ATL.
— The Rugby Network (@therugbynetwork) February 19, 2022
Just give Fidow the ball and get out of the way.
Did I miss anything? Let me know on Twitter @DNVR Rugby.