Greenwich, CT – In what was expected to be a close match-up, Ohio flew past San Diego this past weekend. The Aviators jetted around the pitch with an explosion of tries to win in a dominate fashion.
Take a quick look at this Handy-Dandy [tm] Glossary before continuing:
- Average Penalty Points (APP) – Number of times points are scored off of penalties in the attacking half of the field divided by total penalties awarded in attacking side
- Defensive Hold Average (DHA) – Number of times a team repels its opponent within it’s own 22 meter divided by the number of times opponent enters within 22 meter line.
- Red Zone Point Average (RPA) – Number of times a team gets points when it goes inside the 22 meter line divided by the number of time that team is inside the 22 meter line.
- Attacking Plays – Offloads plus line breaks plus runs >20 meters
- Penalty Difference – Penalties awarded divided by penalties conceded
- Turnovers – Times the ball changes possession not including penalties. Ex. counter ruck, interception, stolen lineout, etc.
Now let’s break down the Aviator’s victory By The Numbers.
Statistically speaking, Ohio had several improvements coming back from their upset loss two
weeks ago against the San Francisco Rush. First off, its APP increased from 11% to 44%, which reveals how Ohio took advantage of the penalties the Breakers conceded. Many of the victor’s points scored came from plays that started as lineouts, from balls kicked into touch as a result of penalties. While I was off on my match prediction for the winner, I did point out that “… wing Spike Davis might be able to puncture the Breaker’s defense,” and if so, the Aviators might be able to get past the Southern Californians.
On Sunday, Davis and his left wing counterpart Alex Elkins, certainly had an impressive showing. Between the two of them, they had a combined four tries out of the team’s total of eight. That’s right, eight! Using their blazing speed and power running, the duo was able to wreak havoc on San Diego’s typically strong defense, which helped add to the Aviator’s impressive 69% RPA.
The stat that stood out the most for Ohio was its number of attacking plays; a staggering 31, which is 15 more than the any team in the past three weeks. Most of the points for the attacking plays came from 18 offloads which helped Ohio dissect San Diego’s defensive. This Fijian-like style of play is dramatically different compared to its previous match where it had whopping total of 0.
The Breakers were a bit broken in the backline, and definitely felt the effects of not having Taku Ngwenya and Mike Te’o. Its Attacking Points fell from an average of 12 the last two weeks to 7 the last game. Without this long-range duo threat, the Breakers longest try came from only 20 meters out. On defense, San Diego was not able to keep up and its DHA fell dramatically – from an average of 73% the last two matches – to 23% this week. As the Breaker’s brick wall of a defense crumbled, Ohio was able to skillfully move the ball around to record three plays of 50 meters or more.
Now, time for the predictions.
This weekend, San Francisco will take on San Diego in a match that the Breakers will be bent on making up for last week’s performance. Despite the Rush getting its first win of the year against Ohio and Ohio beating the Breakers, I’m going to pick San Diego for this one. IF Ngwenya and Teo are back in the lineup for the Breakers, my bet is on San Diego. However, if the two stars aren’t playing I would go with the Rush. I would make the argument that while the loss of those two Eagles players was not the whole reason for San Diego’s loss, it did influence the decrease in its offensive efficiency.
The main match of the week will certainly be Ohio visiting Denver up in the Rockies. This is a hard one to pick because the Aviators are coming off of a very convincing victory and the current league leaders just barely beat San Diego last week. However, I like Ohio’s momentum. If they can continue to use the offload style of play they used against the Breakers, I believe the Aviators will be able to Stampede Denver, and lasso them with their first loss.
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