It was as intense as a rivalry should be but in the end a fantastic trio of tries from Preston Bryant was good enough to see the Glendale Raptors beat rivals Denver Barbarians 35-21. With the win and SFGG’s draw with Santa Monica the Raptors now have the top of the table to themselves with four wins and one loss. The Barbarians move to 2-3 on the season and will look for a win next week to set themselves back at .500.
Despite the eventual result Denver were the first on the board as Ata Malifa, who has been playing well the last few weeks, scored to give Denver a 7-0 lead only three minutes in after Max De Achaval hit the conversion.
However, that would be all Denver would get until the second half as the Raptors blew open the match thanks to two tries from Preston Bryant, a try from Brett Willis, as well as two conversions and a penalty from Dan Fleming. At the half Glendale led 22-7.
Fleming would add to the lead only a couple of minutes into the second half with a penalty before Denver earned an penalty try to inch back into the match. With De Achaval’s conversion the Barbarians found themselves trailing only 25-14 with plenty of time to play.
Bryant and Barbarians center Taylor Howard would then trade tries ten minutes a part to push the score to 30-21 in favor of Glendale with less than ten minutes remaining. Glendale then sealed the match for good when Brodie Orth, who attended Eagles camp last week, scored the final try of the match just five minutes from time.
Once again Glendale showed why they were the top regular season team last year. The team also benefited from having their large contingent back from Eagles camp. For the Barbarians it was another tough loss to a rival and puts a big dent in any plans of controlling their own playoff destiny the rest of the season.
Tries: Bryant (3), Willis, Orth
Conversions: Fleming (2)
Penalties: Fleming (2)
Tries: Malifa, Penalty, Howard
Conversions: De Achaval (3)