AG Falls Short To Utah in Exhilarating Home Opener
AUSTIN, TX (March 21, 2021) – A club record crowd was in attendance for Saturday night’s home opener that saw an 80-minute dog fight come down to one final penalty kick. While the AGs came up two points short, the fans were treated to an unforgettable night out at Bold Stadium.
The visitors opened the scoring with a penalty goal in the opening minutes of the match from the left boot of Hagen Schulte. The AGs gained a man advantage when Utah’s hooker Samo Malolo failed to roll away from the ruck and AG’s hooker Hugh Roach took advantage scoring the first try of the match. The AG debutante dug the ball from the ruck and dove quickly for the line to give the AGs a 7-3 lead.
Utah responded while down a man and caught the AG defense by surprise with a diving try of their own from scrumhalf Michael Baska. Then again came the Warriors charging down the pitch, and Lance Williams made an incredible effort to score the Warriors’ second try in just ten minutes.
Just as fast as Utah returned to full strength they immediately were pinged for another yellow card for collapsing the scrum; giving the AGs another man advantage. The AGs touched the ball down in end-goal twice but neither would be counted; the referee twice penalized the would-be tries for double movements and the AGs went into the half down 7-15.
AGs Head Coach Sam Harris came out of the halftime locker room with a poised prediction for the second half, “Cooler heads will prevail.”
Utah opened the halftime scoring when Samo Malolo made up for his yellow card by plowing through two AG defenders for a try.
Then came Ascension Seton Performance of the Night winner Moe Abdelmonem with a try to narrow the margin.
Utah’s Jurie Van Vurren dug through the AG line with a close-quarters try that looked like it might have stifled the AG momentum. That was until Van Vurren collapsed the AG maul and was sent to the sin bin for the third Warriors yellow card of the match while the AGs came away with a penalty try 7 points.
With the man advantage, the AGs battled into the Utah five-meter line when AG newcomer Paddy Ryan pushed his way over the line to put the AGs down two points with three minutes left to play.
The AGs earned one final penalty with time expired and with the home crowd on their feet, Mack Mason set up his kicking tee 51 meters from the uprights. The match-winning kick missed by less than a meter and the Warriors escaped with the win.
After the match AG’s Captain Bryce Campbell said, “We fought to the last whistle to give ourselves a chance, and we trust Mack [Mason] to give it a go – it’s a 50-meter kick and we put ourselves in that position. We didn’t front up from the start and that’s something we’ve got to work on but we fought to the very end and gave it our all.”
While the AGs hoped to bring home a victory for the record crowd, all was not lost in defeat; the club brought home two bonus points for scoring for tries and losing by only two points. Another bonus was the spectacular post-match performance from DJ Paul Oakenfold and the firework show.
Next Sunday, there’s certain to be more fireworks as the AGs take on a tough San Diego Legion squad at home at Bold Stadium on Singles Night!
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