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It’s been a solid recruiting offseason for Dallas despite the fact that the Dallas Harlequins are back in DI and are direct competitors for players at that level.
Club president Jeff Kolberg will be without his son and start fullback Kelly, who is coming off an injury. Kolberg the younger should be ready by the end of January. That’s good news for Dallas, which finished 4-5 in last year’s league and took the #2 seed to the playoffs (the Harlequins, at 6-2, finished 2nd but as a Super League did not participate in DI playoffs; the Austin Blacks were 9-0 and 1st).
Things didn’t go so well for the Texas teams in the playoffs after that, but with Dallas hosting a Round of 16 bracket, they will be motivated to show well this season.
To do that, Dallas will be showcasing an effective, somewhat new-look pack. Alex Drozda anchors the pack as a lock/back rower. But it’s the front row that is changed, with Mike Lyons back from a broken foot to prop, Chris Herzog back from knee surgery to play hooker, and 6-5 Chris Hopkins, who plays in the front or second row. Trevor Ball a powerful attacker at No. 8, while lock Darrell Tigh makes their lineout sing.
This is a strong forward pack for Dallas, and the question is, will they have the backs to take advantage of any possession the forwards get.
Kolberg may be injured, but halfback Austin Ryan has stepped up as a smart distributor. Back Paul Boyd (back from knee injury) is a welcome re-addition, and wing Scott Lake returns, along with former football player Dan Carson.
Kolberg the elder says the Dallas club is feeling confident. They were very
close to being a lot better than 4-5 last year, that’s true, as they lost
two games by less than five points. But by the same token, the Reds won
three games by close margins, also. With more additions like Kevin
Bradfield and Jeremy Neilson, and with the improvements up front, they
could make up some ground.
Dallas Rugby Club
2011-2012 League Record: 4-5 (pf 226 pa 302
Round of 32 43-10 over Denver Highlanders
Round of 16 lost 49-5 to Belmont Shore (eventual champions)
Consolation: Lost 25-22 to EPA Bulldogs