Friday, 7 December 2012

Birmingham Lions vs. Warwick Wolves - GOTW Preview


by Tom Snee

In a masterclass of social media manipulation, Birmingham Lions’ match-up with Warwick Wolves makes an appearance as our game of the week. A surge of voting from both teams took the MAC encounter (sounds like an X-Files episode) past the rest of the selections on our Facebook poll to earn the honour – if you don’t like it, vote differently next week...well, not next week as it’s nearly Christmas.  
For once, we’re talking about a match-up of unbeaten MAC teams that isn’t Birmingham against Loughborough.  But before this preview starts getting all harsh on Warwick’s chances, let’s give them credit where it’s due. 

After starting the season by restricting Northampton’s offence to just a safety (try asking Lincoln and Nottingham how hard that is to do) in a 13-2 win, they also stifled the occasionally potent Leicester double wing whilst running in a few scores of their own last time out. 

Let’s not kid ourselves...Warwick haven’t got much chance of causing an upset this weekend. They have however got a real shot of making something of their 2012/13 season. Ignoring this game, they have five eminently winnable matches in prospect for the rest of the season, and a Challenge Trophy spot is certainly within their reach. 

And what of Birmingham? We could sit here and talk in platitudes about how strong a programme they have, how many points they’ve scored, how they’ve come up short in big games once or twice. But instead, we’ll just list some names and let you make your own conclusions; AJ Crabbe, Dan Conroy, Drew NewissFrazer Magunda, Greg Freeman, Josh Vines, Tristan Varney, Tom Levick..... 

Prediction - Birmingham Lions 45 - Warwick Wolves 7

Five Keys To The Game: 

Hitting Tristan Varney 
Too soon? The ONLY way to stop the Lions’ passing game is to get to Varney quickly. If you don’t, he’ll tear you apart. To be honest, even if you do, it’ll probably be a screen to Dan Conroy for a million yards anyway. 

Getting into rhythm early 
Warwick’s best (only?) chance of getting one up on Birmingham is to score on the opening drive. It may just unsettle them...probably not though. 

K.I.S.S 
Keep It Simple, Stupid. Warwick need to ditch any thoughts of Jet Sweeps, Quaterback Options and Fake Punts – simple pass concepts and strongside runs should help them get some sort of yardage and (maybe) a score or two 

K.I.S.S Part Two 
Birmingham will just have to guard against that little bit of complacency that may be creeping in – particularly on defence. However, they should be safe in the knowledge that as long as they just play their assignments, they are better athletes and better football players than the Wolves...sorry Warwick, it’s true. 

Don’t get too down on yourselves 
Warwick will lose this game, probably heavily. But don’t trip over your bottom lips on the way off the field guys, you’ve got some serious chances! Running back Prince Ajose is the archetypal “Put The Team On Your Back” back, and that – combined with a competent defence – is often enough to show strong in the second half of the season. 

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