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We're done with Week 7 of the Pacific Rugby Premiership, and we've got seven more weeks of league play to go.
Several players have stepped forward to show they're among the best of the league, but while this league is good for the game and offers good competition, that doesn't mean that the best will automatically waltz onto the Eagles. That state of affairs will take time. Still, we've seen some good players, and we pick out Mid-Season All-PRP team. Here it is:
1. Bryce Schilling, Belmont Shore. There are a few candidates here,
including Ethan Willis and Brendan Purcell from OMBAC, but we'll give
Belmont Shore a nod in part because Schilling can move around a bit. Prop
has not been a position that has bathed itself in glory this season – the
players are not fit enough or mobile enough.
2. Zach Fenoglio, Glendale. Several hookers have played well this season – Mike Sweet at Belmont Shore and Andrew Cook at Olympic Club come to mind – but Fenoglio is good at all aspects of play, and has been central to Glendale being in 1st place.
3. Darrell Honaker, Olympic Club. Honaker is a tough scrummager and good on defense, and can run effectively with the ball, and is one of the few props who looks like his fitness is where it should be.
4. Brendan Daly, SFGG. A tough customer in tight, Daly started the season scoring tries and that's one of the reasons he's here. This is actually a very deep position, with Casey Rock, Ian Carpenter, Sam Lilley, and Mike Stack all candidates.
5. Ben Pinkelman, Denver. Still young enough to qualify for the USA U20s, Pinkelman has the work rate and athleticism of an international player. Maybe not as solidly built as his older peers, he makes up for it with his intelligence, speed, and awareness.
6. Kelly Harris, Olympic Club. Probably makes more big tackles than any other player in the league (we haven't counted). Does his job, especially on defense. If Eric Duechle plays the way he did against Denver, he could be here by the end of the season.
7. Brendan Shea, Denver. Just always in the right place in support. He has scored and set up some big tries for Denver because of his support work. Been known to make a tackle or two as well. This position has many solid candidates, including Alex Carpenter, Logan Collins, and Bruce Thomas.
8. Tom Rooke, SFGG. This was enormously difficult because a) there is no dominant guy like Samu Manoa of a couple of years ago or Henry Bloomfield in his prime, and b) there are a lot of teams with solid, dependable, effective No. 8s. We've just noticed Rooke a lot more than the others, with OMBAC's Patrick Mallon perhaps being as close as makes no difference.