Thursday, 2 May 2013

Premiership South Power Rankings

1. London Blitz
The Blitz bow out early of their European campaign after losing by only a point, that’s gotta hurt. However, now they can focus on the ‘bread and butter’ of their game, the premiership. They finally get their first game under their belt this weekend against the Aztecs who have had an extra week to get over the undoubtedly upsetting result against the Warriors. This game should provide our first yard stick to measure the two power house London teams.

2. London Warriors
A shut out and a good offensive performance against a rival is going to have the Warriors smiling this week. It seems that the touchdowns are coming both through the air and on the ground, with former Portsmouth standout Afo Olowale scoring 4 touchdowns in the first game alone, breaking tackles along the way. Defensively the Warriors seem to have gone back to their shut out ways, with the Olympians never really being able to sustain long drives and great pressure up front ending in numerous sacks and tackles for losses.
The Warriors now face a trip up to Cambridge to face the Cambridgeshire cats this weekend in the third of a 3 game streak.

3. London Olympians
While the result obviously didn’t go their way, the Olympians put in a good performance, making plays on defence, while struggling on offence. It does go to show the gap in this country between the top flight teams and the next level, as one can safely consider the Olympians a top 5 team, and there might even be a case for them being the third best team in the country (it could be argued they would beat EKP at home, but lose away, such is the journey), and they couldn’t score on or stop the Warriors. A baptism of fire for their first game, but they have another month to prepare for their next against Berkshire.

4. Bristol Aztecs
Speaking of baptisms of fire, the Aztecs face the Blitz next week, only two weeks after facing the Warriors previously. You wonder how this might affect a team moving forward if they were to incur two losses so early in their season by big margins. That remains to be seen, however the likes of Sussex and Cambridge can’t be counted out of a possible playoff spot just yet, so the Aztecs need to maintain their focus for the games further down the road, even if they were to lose to the Blitz.

5. Sussex Thunder
The Thunder are still yet to play a game, so hard to say how they will look this year, thus tentatively retaining the #5 seed based on the past glories of the Division 1 championship. A strong performance by the Cats this weekend could see this change, unless the Thunder provide an overwhelming performance against the Cardinals.

 6. Cambridgeshire Cats
Word on the grapevine is that Cambridge are chock full of Americans this year, with somewhere in the region of 20 registered on their roster. Perhaps the Armageddon that so many predicted last year is happening this year with the removal of the American rule. An injection of 20 Americans can turn a team from a good team to a great team (look at the Calanda Broncos in the EFL last year), however the question must be what caliber of players are they and is it a sustainable model without too much alienation of the home grown talent. This weekend will be a great test for the Cats, when they welcome the Warriors to their house.

7. East Kent Mavericks
The Mavericks finally get their season underway this Saturday at home to the South Wales Warriors. The Mavericks can take advantage of the South Wales Warriors coming straight off a loss and eek out a win here, however, I can see the bottom of the table liable to a few changes in the weeks to come.

8. Berkshire Renegades
It must be tough to see results from other games streaming in on a Sunday when your preseason is as long as the Renegades has been. They will be eager for the next two weeks to fly by to travel away to the Aztecs.

9. Peterborough Saxons
The Saxons can solidify their place above South Wales on the rankings this week after a 13-8 victory. Precisely the momentum builder they needed going into a big rivalry with the Cats which takes place in two weeks’ time. Unfortunately the performance hasn't earned them any more places in the rankings as it was by no means dominant.

10. South Wales Warriors
It’s got to hurt the pride on some level being a division 1 playoff contender to then lose to the division 2 runners up the following year. To restore their pride they need to travel to Canterbury and stake their claim in the premiership.

11. Ipswich Cardinals 
The Cardinals were given a tough opening to the season, the question is, whether they were tough because the opposition was good, or they were tough because the Cardinals are bad. It seems that some of the old guard at the Cardinals have jumped ship to don a different shade of red, and the current squad is full of lots of rookies/inexperienced university players. In any other division this might be a set up that could win you, two maybe three games, but not in the Premiership South. Such a shame as well, as Ipswich have undoubtedly one of the nicest facilities in the whole of Britball.

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