Both North and South conferences are in action this weekend, with three sides kicking off their 2017 season.
Sheffield Giants vs Edinburgh Wolves
Oh, how it hurts to be wrong. After spoiling my predictions last week, barely, the Wolves are back in action against the Giants. A game straight out of Game Of Thrones, the new kids on the block want to cement their status with the big dogs of the prem, a feat they very nearly accomplished by almost besting the perennial Scottish powerhouse, the East Kilbride Pirates. Meanwhile, the Giants look to open their season by putting the new boys in their place.
After holding the Pirates, the Wolves look to continue their form and put a beat down on the Giants. Their defence came into question early as they trailed before the half and again as they blew a fourth quarter lead. If they can show the form they showed in the third quarter, the Wolves will be onto a comfortable victory. The Wolves’ offence has shown they can put points on the board and it will be a matter of how many points the Wolves concede.
The Giants can be excited and feel well prepared going into the next game. With the Wolves having already played and the Giants yet to take the field, they should, in theory, be ready for what the Wolves have to offer. Without Brad Thompson at the helm, the Giants will need to rely on Ewan Chisholm to hold down the fort. There is still firepower within the roster with WR Josh Allen looking to make his mark. There’s a lot of excitement around the Giants camp… Will that excitement be justified, or will they fall prey to the hungry Wolves?
Since the Wolves proved me wrong last week, I think they deserve the benefit of the doubt this week. The game will, hopefully, be an exciting one with the Wolves finishing off what they could not with the Pirates.
Bristol Aztecs vs Farnham Knights
This weekend sees the first games for both the Aztecs and the Knights to kick start their 2017 season. The Knights finished one place behind the Aztecs last season and have made some big changes since last year’s campaign. This will be the first game for the Knights under new Head Coach Mark ‘Tango’ Lockwood and so there is a great amount of anticipation to see what changes have been made in the offseason. Offensive Coordinator Peter Fields shared his views with us saying ‘Clearly there is no weak team in the Premiership this season. Our offence have worked real hard this year! We look forward to getting a big test from Bristol this Sunday.’ With both the Offensive Line and RB Aaron Sekwalor listed as ones to watch in the Premiership South Season Preview the main threat coming from the Knights seems to be their offense. Sekwalor broke the clubs single game rushing record the last time these two teams met with multiple touchdowns including one on a deep throw. Can they get the points needed on Sunday to stop the Aztecs?
The Aztecs on the other hand have made a few coaching changes in the offseason, bringing in Coach James Speck to help out on the Defense and Coach Paul Dangerfield returns helping out on Special Teams. Having been the only other team to beat the Blitz (after the Warriors) last season, the Aztecs will be looking to take the next step and reach the playoffs this season. HC Chris Powles talking about the game Sunday said ‘So here we are in game week, after 10 weeks of pre season, game one is finally here. We have put some good Sundays together, building momentum since our residential camp. Last year we played 2 extremely competitive games with the Knights, so we know Sunday is going to be another tough game. The schedule this year is the hardest we have seen for many season so we are looking forward to seeing if the work we have put in will translate to the field.’
If last year’s games between these 2 teams are anything to go by this game will likely be a high scoring affair with the winner being determined by whichever defense can step up. Aztecs to win.