Seattle Seawolves Aim for First Win Against Old Glory - Preview

By Alistair Kirsch-Poole
May 27, 2023 - 12:11pm

The Seattle Seawolves can list many accomplishments in their short history as a club: they've made the playoffs three times, made the finals three times, lifted the MLR shield twice, and by all measures look likely to be in the same position this year as well. Strangely missing from their list of accomplishments, however, is a win against Old Glory. In 2020, they provided OGDC their first home win ever at Catholic University, then came to Segra field the next year and lost in front of a pandemic-restricted crowd.

Tomorrow, Old Glory will attempt to defend that record as the Seawolves visit for an evening match under the lights. Seattle comes in as the odds-on favorites, having lost only twice this season, once to league-leaders San Diego and once to an explosive Utah side. The rest of the time, Seattle has shown a remarkable consistency, scoring about 35 points while giving up about 25, almost regardless of who they're playing.

Their game has a slightly deceptive quality to it though. They often allow teams to hang around or even take leads before they ultimately tighten up on defense and explode on attack in the final 20 minutes. All of their recent opponents, Houston, Toronto, and Chicago, held leads before ultimately falling.

The Seawolves two losses are informative, outlining the two basic strategies for winning this match. San Diego took the defensive route. Like most other teams, they were neck and neck through much of the match, with the Legion leading most of the time. Normally, Seattle would explode in the last 20 minutes with a couple of tries to grab the win, but San Diego was able to shut them down and hold on to a 2-point lead for a 22-20 win. It was one of only a handful of matches where Seattle has scored under 30 points.

Utah went the opposite route, overwhelming the Seawolves with attacking firepower. Again, the two teams traded leads throughout the match, never getting more than a single score apart from each other. However, when the final twenty minutes came, a time when Seattle usually shuts down their opponents' attack, the Warriors were able to just keep scoring. They racked up another three tries to take a 41-35 win.

In almost every match the Seawolves play, the final twenty minutes are decisive. They usually come out ahead in that period, asserting dominance both on attack and defense to make the final score look comfortable. When they've lost, though, it's because they lost that stretch of the match on either attack or defense.

Old Glory will have to decided which approach they want to take, but either way they need to be ready to win the final quarter. The substitutes will be absolutely key to this, and fortunately there will be some firepower with Palamo, Langilangi, and Grosse coming off the bench. I expect Old Glory will rely on their scoring to carry them through; their chaotic, offload-heavy attack isn't too different from Utah's making that the obvious model to follow.

Regardless, this should be a tense, tight match and an excellent one to watch from the stands.


Old Glory has opted for just a single change the forward pack. Jack Iscaro is at loosehead, backed up by Quentin Newcomer; Nic Souchon starts at hooker, backed up by Facundo Gattas; and Kyle Stewart starts at tighthead, backed up by Cali Martinez. In the second row, Tevita Naqali returns to the starting lineup, joined by Kyle Baillie, while in the back row Lautaro Bavaro and Niko Jones start at flanker and Jamason Fa'anana-Schultz starts at eight. Collin Grosse, Langilangi Haupeakui, and Alejo Daireaux provide cover off the bench. The bench overall is forward-heavy, with six forwards and just two backs.

Speaking of the backs, this is where we see the big changes this week. It all starts at fullback, where Kurt Baker has returned from paternity leave and slots straight into the starting lineup. He takes that role from Tito Diaz Bonilla, but instead of dropping Tito to the bench the coaches have opted to put him back in the starting flyhalf jersey. Gradyn Bowd, who has had been locked in at starting flyhalf for weeks now, slides over to inside center.

This is a change that I speculated about on the podcast this week, and it seems to make a lot of sense. Tito, Bowd, and Baker are all too good to leave on the bench, but that's three players for two positions. Bowd's distribution and solid defense should make him a quality player at center, and combined with Tito's kicking and aggressive running, the attack should be very potent.

The ever-reliable Willie Talataina sticks around at outside center, with Peni Lasaqa and John Rizzo on the wings. Junior Sa'u has been dropped, presumably due to foreign player restrictions with Baker returning. Rizzo gets his first start this year, and only his third cap, but with Marcos young injured there aren't many other domestic options. On the bench are Thretton Palamo and Doug Fraser, the latter of whom is getting just his second appearance despite being a regular in past years.

  1. Jack Iscaro
  2. Nic Souchon
  3. Kyle Stewart
  4. Tevita Naqali
  5. Kyle Baillie
  6. Lautaro Bavaro
  7. Niko Jones
  8. Jamason Fa'anana-Schultz
  9. Danny Tusitala
  10. Tito Diaz Bonilla
  11. John Rizzo
  12. Gradyn Bowd
  13. Willie Talataina
  14. Peni Lasaqa
  15. Kurt Baker


  1. Facundo Gattas
  2. Quentin Newcomer
  3. Cali Martinez
  4. Langilangi Haupeakui
  5. Collin Grosse
  6. Alejo Daireaux
  7. Trhetton Palamo
  8. Doug Fraser