The Championship Grand Finals
(1) Call me Big Papali’i V Burnin’ Bridges (2)
In the final fixture of the Draft season we had one returning finalist and one fresh faced manager looking to write his name into history. Harry was looking to create a Drafting dynasty after finishing champion in 2015,16,17 and runner up in 2018. While Nabung, who had made his first semi-final in 2018, where he lost to eventual champion Cargie, was benefiting from not getting blind before every Draft night.
The first picks for each manager picked themselves, and may well have been the biggest difference makes in the entire two sides. Harry took Richie Mo’unga (33) and Fantasy Man of the Match (as well as actual MOM) Pablo Matera (54 points), while Nabung took the often game breaking Sevu Reece (15) and the first curve ball of the Grand Final Draft Braydon Ennor (24).
The front row: Nabung took the lead in these positions and it paid off, Codie Taylor (46 points) top scored for Burnin’ Bridges after scoring the games only try, while both Joe Moody (17) and Santiago Medrano (29) played well, often forcing penalties against each other at the scrum. His front row combined for 92 points. Meanwhile Harry got his first pick prop Owen Franks (18) who failed to make any real impact, along with Agustin Creevy (25) and Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro (18) for a total of only 61 points between them.
Locks: On past form Harry’s Guido Petti (35) and Nabung’s Sam Whitelock (43) looked to be the only desirable players in the position, and so it played out with them being picked in the 6th and 8th round respectively. Call me Big Papali’i was cheering when Tomas Lavanini (30) avoided another red card, while Mitchell Dunshea (23) exceeded expectation as well. The match-up finished as a relative stalemate with Nabung outscoring Harry 66-65.
Backrow: As already mentioned Call me Big Papali’i’s Pablo Matera (54) was the standout player, but Harry also quickly locked down the signature of Kieran Read (28), whilst gladly taking Javier Ortega Desio (34) late considering he had been in a hot run of form. Nabung was slower to react in the loose, but still bagged the sort after ‘Finals’ Todd (39) who went so close to yet another finals try, as well as Whetu Douglas (27) and Marcos Kremer (32). Harry took the lead here 116 to 98 points.
The Halves: On paper this was probably the biggest mismatch going into the Grand Final. Harry had taken Richie Mo’unga (33) as his first pick, and Tomas Cubelli (36) as his eighth pick. Leaving Nabung with the unfavorable Bryn Hall (13) and Joaquin Diaz Bonilla (5) who both had quiet nights. The difference here was a massive 51 points as Harry put some space between Nabung 69 to 18.
Centres: Nabung needed some pay from his huge centre advantage after going early with 2nd round pick Braydon Ennor (24) who had an average starting at centre of around 50 points, and Matias Orlando (23) who had a three round average of 45.1 points per game. But it was not his night with Jack Goodhue (20) staying in touch, and last picked Jeronimo de la Fuente (27) actually top scoring for the group. The centres finished up at 47 points each, a massive blow to Nabung’s finals hopes.
Outside Backs: Going into the final position Harry held a 37 point lead, something that could have been easily covered by Burnin’ Bridges first pick Sevu Reece (15). With Reece failing to fire Nabung needed value out of Ramiro Moyano (29) and Emiliano Boffelli (22), but they could only combine for a total of 66 points. This mean Harry required only 30 points to claim the 2019 title. There were one or two tries left out on the park, but Matias Moroni (36) still did enough for his team, whilst also finishing the best Outside back on the park. To put the icing on the cake David Havili (21) and Nabung’s usual namesake George Bridge (19), consolidated the win for Harry’s Call me Big Papali’i by 47 points!
The Pivotal Moment: In round 9 of the Draft Nabung strained over stealing Matias Moroni (36) off Harry, but he knew it would have cost him a starting Fly half in Joaquin Diaz Bonilla (5). The change would have set Will Jordan (2) in for Harry, and Domingo Miotti (-1) in for Nabung, causing a 28 point turn around. Not enough to cover the 47 point winning margin, but had he played Moroni for Sevu Reece (15), Nabung would have taken home the title by 2 points!
Best Player: Pablo Matera 54 Points (Harry)
Worst Player: Joaquin Diaz Bonilla 5 points (Nabung)
Worst Coaching Decision (player left on the bench): None, great decisions all round!
Congratulations to our 2019 Draft Champion Harry!
Condolences to our Losers:
Regular season and 2020 Calendar model Larry
Wooden Spoon Final Loser Nelson
Thanks to everyone for sticking with us in 2019, we can’t wait to launch our rugby platform in full in 2020!
Written by Harrison Dale