It was intense, it was for a spot in the playoffs, and it was another classic SFGG-Glendale match. A month ago the SFGG Rhinos looked like they wouldn’t be making the playoffs this year after losing to Belmont Shore, their second in a row and their third on the season as opposed to only four wins, but after a 32-20 win over the Glendale Raptors on Tuesday the team has once again booked a trip to the Grand Final.
The Rhinos now have five wins in a row, including two top of the table clashes against OMBAC and the Raptors. As things stand they now sit at the top of the table. However, both the Raptors and OMBAC have a match in hand. The Raptors could have sealed a spot in the Grand Final had they been able to take a point away from the match but they came up empty again giving faint life to OMBAC. If Glendale fail to pick up a point against Denver this weekend and OMBAC take away the full five points against Belmont Shore then it’s possible for OMBAC to grab the final Grand Final spot depending on how tiebreakers shake out.
Even though the match was held on a Tuesday afternoon (a weather make-up from a few weeks back) both teams fielded strong line-ups and it showed early. The Raptors went up 3-0 early after Armandt Peens hit a penalty. That lead wouldn’t last as Pila Huihui picked off a bad Glendale pass and ran in for the match’s opening try. He would add a second a few moments later to push the score to 12-3 after Tai Enosa made one of the conversions.
SFGG could have extended the lead even more but Enosa missed a penalty attempt. Soon after Glendale would have a chance of their own and Peens made no mistake. 12-6 to SFGG. As the back and forth continued Enosa would have another shot at goal. This one hit the post and went in extending the lead to 15-6. Still, Glendale would strike from John Ryberg just before the half to cut the lead to 15-13.
Dewon Reed would put Glendale ahead when he scored his ninth try of the season, pushing him into second place overall. Peens would convert and Glendale would lead 20-15. But that would be all that Glendale would get. Tries from Mosese Atiola, Brendan Daly, and Mile Pulu would give the Rhinos what they needed to secure the win.
Tries: Huihui (2), Atiola, Daly, Pulu
Conversions: Enosa (2)
Tries: Ryberg, Reed
Conversions: Peens (2)
Penalties: Peens (2)