Every week in the MLR provides us with too much information to process over two game days. We’ll be providing 3 immediate takeaways each week.
The Sequel is Never as Competitive
Round 1 was a thriller, with only the LA-New England match being less than competitive. Round 2 didn’t have nearly as many tight match ups. Austin – San Diego was a nail biter. DC – ATL ended within bonus point margins.
After that? It gets bad quickly.
The other four games were won by an average of 23 points. Sure, the Giltinis look great. But is New England that much better than Houston? Did New York forget how to play altogether? Even Toronto (a team who, in fairness, still has immense amounts of talent arriving) looked completely outmatched by Utah.
We can all bask in the fact it’s early season rugby. But if score lines still look like this in a month, we’re going to have an issue.
Only Two Teams are Still Perfect
In many ways, this feels like a counter balance to my first point. While there wasn’t much parity on the field this week, the tables would make you believe every team was on the same footing. I’ll save the deep table analysis for tomorrow, but the fact that only LA (expected) and Utah (less expected) are a perfect 2-0 is something.
In fairness, both NOLA and DC are also unbeaten after their Round 1 draw.
The big question is for the two teams without a win. Toronto and Seattle have fantastic histories. But Seattle is going into an uncomfortable early bye week. Toronto heads to DC next. It feels possible that two premier sides will be winless after three rounds.
Danny Tusitala is a Star
Old Glory is a strange squad. The set piece needs help. In a league where the line out is king, they need more from their pack. It’s a huge part of why I saw them as a tier 2 team in the East.
Enter Danny Tusitala.
The Samoan international has spent the last two weeks leading this side to an unbeaten record that, on paper, it doesn’t deserve. DC is playing small, kicking, and running. It all runs through Tusitala.
A big key for Old Glory will be keeping the former Mitre 10 pro in the 9 jersey. He started at fly half this week, then shifted forward in the second half. The readily was a big win over ATL. His sense to stick with the play as a support runner is paying off massively for this side.
I don’t know how long the magic can last. Without more help up front, it could be a long year. But Tusitala is clearly ahead of the game. He just might be able to keep them in the hunt long enough for the pack to figure things out.