Seawolves book their place in the final

Seattle Seawolves and the Toronto Arrows faced off in the second semi final of the afternoon with the prize being a place in the final against San Diego Legion next week.

It was the Seawolves who started the better as they burst out of the blocks showing incredible intensity. The Seawolves forced a penalty on the 4th minute following good pressure from a kick and chase. Just 2 minutes later the Seawolves scored a wonderful flowing try. Out-half Ben Cima clipped over a clever chip which Matt Turner broke onto to collect. Turner then offloaded to captain Suniula who eventually shipped the ball onto JP Smith to score a great team try to make it 10-0.

Broke Staller then rubbed further salt in the Toronto Arrows wounds as he slotted over a penalty on the 16th minute to make the score 13-0 to Seattle.

It took the Arrows until just before the first water break on the 20 minute mark to start stringing some moves and passes together, however just as they were building some momentum the Arrows were pinged for a double movement. This proved to be the tale of the afternoon for the Arrows.

Big hits on Malcolm

Such was the intensity of the Seawolves play, the Arrows looked shell shocked and it was Sam Malcolm who was feeling the brunt of the Seawolves aggression. Fijian international Apisai Naikatini hit Malcolm with a massive tackle as he tried to unlock the Seawolves defence. Malcolm stayed on the ground for some period before picking himself up and continuing on with play.

The ever dependable Brock Staller stepped up again on the 34th minute to slot over another penalty to give him a 3 from 3 record and make the score 23-0 to the Seawolves who were well and truly cruising at this stage.

Sam Malcolm is known for playing the game close to the defensive line but in this match he paid the price via two hefty hits which seemed to rattle him but to his testament he continued to play his usual game. On the 39th minute he executed a perfectly floated pass to Gaston Mieres who stepped inside to finish the try. Malcolm then slotted a difficult conversion to make it 23-7 just as the half ended.

Second half

If Toronto were looking for a way back into the game at the beginning of the second half, Ben Cima certainly provided that as he kicked straight into touch from the second half kick off. Unfortunately for the Arrows, what could have been a good attacking platform, was squandered as they once again turned over possession.

The Arrows were however battling hard at this stage and on the 48th minute Mike Sheppard read the play beautifully to intercept and show great pace to run in underneath the posts for a 7 pointer and make the score 23-14 to the Seawolves.

The Arrows chipped away further at the Seawolves lead when on the 61st minute, Malcolm slotted over a penalty as the Seawolves were pinged at the ruck. Given the momentum the Arrows had, it was an interesting decision as they could have gone to the corner. Instead the score was 23-17 to the Seawolves less than 20 minutes to play.

Tide turning

The Arrows must have thought the tide had turned on the 65th minute when the ever dependable Brock Staller stepped up to maintain his perfect record of penalties only to shank this one and send it wide with an un-characteristically wayward kick.

Then on the 68th, the killer blow for the Arrows which realistically saw off their chances. The Arrows defence was pinged for pulling down the maul and referee awarded the penalty try and sin-binned Peter Milazzo. As the conversion is automatically awarded for a penalty try, the score was now 30-17 in the Seawolves favor with the Arrows a man down for the next ten minutes.

The Arrows kept fighting back and thought they had struck a blow when Mike Sheppard crossed over the whitewash again. Referee Scott Green however conferred with the TMO and disallowed the try as the ball had not travelled 5 metres from the previous lineout.

And that is how the game ended with the Seawolves seeing the game out 30-17 to book their place in the final next weekend against top seeds San Diego Legion.

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