Wednesday, 28 December 2011

BUAFL Breakdown: Northern Conference (Part 2)

Manchester Tyrants
With the introduction of a new set of coaches this season, including new Head Coach Hugh English, the Tyrants are clearly a team in transition. Despite being involved in a number of close fixtures against Bradford and York, losing by a single score or less, Manchester seem to have taken a backward step when it comes to putting points on the board.

With fixtures against local rivals Manchester Met Eagles, Sheffield Sabres and conference leaders Hallam Warriors to come, there are sterner tests ahead for the Tyrants this season and it seems unlikely that the Lancashire side will see their 0-4 record improve.

Manchester Metropolitan Eagles
Manchester Met have been involved in some close battles so far this season against York and a nail-bitter with the Celtics, which took two periods of overtime to decide. Head Coach Jim Blinkhorn may be regretting going for the win in that one, but it shows the confidence he obviously has in his offence. But for a forceful hit in the end zone, he may have been vindicated in that decision.

Out of the sides in the bottom half of the table, the Eagles arguably have the easiest run-in to the end of the season with fixtures against the also winless Stallions, Fury and bottom-of-the-table rivals, Manchester Tyrants. With the defensive showing displayed against York, a rampant Bangor offence and Leeds Celtics it wouldn’t be a surprise if the Eagles finished the season strongly, but in these tight defensive battles it all comes down to who is able to get that ball into the end zone.   

Huddersfield Hawks
The Hawks are another side under new management this season after the departure of Head Coach and former Offensive Coordinator Nathan Deeley, which has seen former Defensive Coordinator Coach Greg Boyland take over the reins.

As with any new system, teething problems are inevitable, but Boyland’s job has not been made any easier by the Hawk’s punishing schedule, opening against the top two offences in the conference, the Sabres and the Warriors, who between them put 155 unanswered points on the Hawks.  

Although they can take heart from their defensive showdown with the Sharks (6-0) where a single score may have seen the men from Huddersfield record their first win of the season, their offence has yet to score a single point.

Despite tough fixtures against high-flying Bangor and Bradford in the New Year, the Hawks are surely targeting match ups against Liverpool and Lancaster, who sit just above them in the Northern Conference, for their first victories. A couple of wins here or there could soon see the Hawks fly up the table if their offense starts clicking. Watch out for their special teams package as well as this team are not afraid to think outside of the box! 

Liverpool Fury
New-boys Fury put up strong defensive performances against both Nottingham and York in their opening fixtures of the season and were a single score away from coming away with a result on both occasions.

But after this relatively promising start, the Fury struggled in week 4 coming off their bye against an established Leeds Carnegie side, who exploited the inexperience in the Liverpool defence.

Looking ahead to the New Year, Liverpool should consider themselves fortunate not to be facing either side from Sheffield, but a visit from nearby Bangor will provide their defence with a realistic test of their capabilities. Home fixtures against Huddersfield, who have failed to score so far this season, may offer the Liverpudlians their first win of the campaign, however nearby rivals MMU Eagles are a team not to be overlooked after their close contests with the Celtics and the MudDogs.

Lancaster Bombers
The Bombers started the season well with a win over the Longhorns, but since then have come crashing back to ground with a thud. They have conceded the most points of any team in the conference (225) including a 97-0 thrashing at the hands of league leaders Hallam Warriors.

Head Coach Darren Carr and Defensive Coordinator David Carter certainly have their work cut out going into the New Year if they are to stop this team leaking any more points, but Lancaster certainly have an easier end to their season after already facing the top three teams in the conference.

Fixtures against York and Huddersfield will prove more evenly matched affairs, but in-form Bradford with their strong defence should shut down the Bomber’s offence which has struggled so far this season.     


  1. Leicester Longhorns was Lancaster's 4th game, after Hull, Carnegie and Hallam.
    So we didn't exactly start the season well...

  2. maxi big comments...


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