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Last year’s DI club finalists will meet again this year, but not in the championship match; Glendale faces Belmont Shore in the opening round this time, and as it was last year, this promises to be a tough, tight game.
On Glendale’s side, they have added Shaun Davies to an already potent team. Davies is a skilled and smart scrumhalf and an excellent goal kicker – a key component to any championship run. Nic Johnson remains an inspirational leader from No. 8, while Eagle back James Paterson is also slated to play.
Captaining the squad is former Belmont Shore man Zach Fenoglio. Add to that players such as Zac Pauga, Chad London, Ata Malifa, Dustin Croy, and Stan Moaali, and you’ve got a well-balanced team that knows how to play a territorial game.
They face Belmont Shore, which plays a slightly less predictable game. That’s in part because longtime center Peter Sio can create tries out of thing air. Kameron Moeller is their primary goal kicker, and he is excellent, while Mike Te’o seems to make things happen regardless of what position he plays, hooker, fullback, center … it doesn’t seem to matter.
The major confrontation could well be around the base of the scrum and the ruck. Namely, Johnson vs. Peter Dahl. Those two loose forwards, with Belmont Shore’s Eddie McKenna in the mix, also, could well decide who wins this game.
Both Glendale and Belmont Shore will be hit hard by USA call-ups for Sunday, so it looks like the winner of the other game in this section of the bracket might wonder if they have a better shot to get to the semis.
Old Puget Sound Beach v. Austin Blacks is the meeting of a team that has come together as a unit, but doesn’t have many stars (Austin), against a team that is stacked with talent. Old Puget Sound Beach has superb backs, and were actually a little unlucky to lose to SFGG in the Elite Cup semifinal last week.
With Nic Hawkins, Pate Tuilevuka, Fili Botitu, Mike Palefau, Miles Craigwell, Isi Daveta, Russell Armstrong, and Emosi Vucago available for their backline, they are sparkling with the ball. Will Austin’s defense hold out?