OG LEAGUE 2020 – ROUND 7 - The final round
The final round of the OG League is complete and the play-off pictures are well and truly taking shape!
Trade Night Rd 6
Round 7 Fixtures:
Rieking Havoc 2.0 (457) V (213) Peri Peri Chicken
Nabung (5) vs Wylie (3)
With a curveball thrown in for fantasy managers in the last week of the regular season, the result of this fixture came as no surprise to anyone post the trading window for the week. In his true all or nothing fashion and with a reckless abandon, Wylie kept the 6 crusaders and 3 blues on his roster largely hedging his bets that the Blues v Crusaders game would go ahead behind closed doors with Auckland back in stage 3 COVID lockdown. He left two trades unused and still had 2 Chiefs with the bye on his roster, opting not to pick up even a benchie replacement. With the Blues/Saders game called off, Wylie's team had only 6 men take to the field and this ultimately saw his place in the finals and all his hard work extinguished on the home straight. Of his 6 men that did take the field, they were actually pretty good! Taniela Tupou and Jona Nareki both brought home 47 points, Prinsep 37 after being denied a 40m linebreak try and Stewart and Daugunu on 32 and 31 points respectively.
Nabung was praying to any gods that would listen this week and someone, somewhere must have heard him and answered those calls. Sitting at 5th on the table, the equation was simple, a win and nothing less would see him into the finals. His roster was actually in pretty good stead heading into the last round of the regular season despite having dropped some big names throughout the season. He made three trades, picking up the remaining two starting outside backs available, the Western Force's Brady Lacey and debutant Jake Strachan and additionally picked up prop Tetera Faulkner. He fielded 14 starters, unable to play Tuipulotu, Rieko Ioane or George Bridge with the game cancellation. It was always going to be difficult to lose with 14 men on 6, but regardless his men put out a quality performance even narrowly bagging him a bonus point (which would have seen him actually finish 3rd had another manager not also picked up on as well). Stand outs were all from the Highlanders vs Hurricanes fixture with landers halves, Aaron Smith with 68 points, Josh Ioane 61 points, Ash Dixon 51 points and Peter Umaga-Jensen with 48 points. Welcome to the finals once again Mr Nabung.
Damian McKenzie XV (441) Vs (279) Ride My Pone
Harry (1) vs Nsync (8)
Nsync finished the 7 round regular season with a big fat doughnut, unable to muster a single win in his team's name in the Draft Rugby 2020 2.0 season. As a result of finishing bottom of the log, Sync will face the Draft Rugby 2020 punishment, keep an eye out for posts to come on that and in addition has booked himself a gig in the wooden spoon playoff. This is the playoff between the OG Leagues bottom two managers, the loser to have his name immortalised on the fabled wooden spoon trophy. In the weekends fixtures, Ride My Pone at least had name sake and fan favourite, Pone Fa'amausili back out there starting for the rebels and he scored 33 points in a colossal matchup with the Tongan Thor, Taniela Tupou, on the weekend. Whilst it can feel as though Pone is the size of a few players, Sync may have been a little carried away and only managed to field 10 men in this penultimate week's fixtures. His clear standouts were Will Harrison with 54 points and Marino Mikaele Tu'u with 53 both finishing the season strong.
In contrast, despite being top of the table and blessed with 'the bye' in his final fixture, Harry's victory was a hollow one as it actually saw him drop down a position to finish 2nd on the table after he narrowly missed out on an attacking bonus point. He was 9 points shy of the 450 required for the attacking BP and locking in the minor premiership. Some have said that he was perhaps a little complacent and just didn't play the man. After a mad scramble at trade night, Harry was unable to fill all the holes and ended up taking the field with 13 men, a few of those off the bench. His mob was lead by big fantasy performances from Mat Philip (52 points), Brandon Paenga-Amosa (55 points despite a yellow card), James O'Connor (48 pts) and Bynard Stander (44 pts). Harry will now back his finals experience and commence the mind games, particularly given his opponent in the playoffs (2 v 3) will be *spoiler alert* the only OG league member in his maiden Draft Rugby season.
The Wallatahs (531) Vs (361) Where My Hosea At
Cargie (2) vs Nelson (7)
Cargie & the Wallatahs emptied the tank for the last round of regular season Draft Rugby, making 7 trades to get starters on the park, including making an early determination that the Blues v Crusaders game would be cancelled and making some moves. He farewelled his Crusaders stars, Richie Mo'unga and Will Jordan, trading for Matt Toomua and Jordie Barrett whilst there was still a chance the game would go ahead. It was the J's in Cargies team that delivered the knockout blows, with new recruit Jordie Barrett putting on a huge performance under the roof in Dunedin and 77 points, Jack Maddocks having perhaps his game of the season and scoring 64 points and Jake Gordon 48 points. Supplement this with a very strong back row of Shannon Frizell & Henry Stowers (both 45 pts), Ardie Savea (39 pts) and trade pickup Kyle Godwin (39 pts) having the game of his career! Cargie was elated with the weeks result as not only did he book himself a position in the big dance, the finals playoff, but it felt as though he beat both Nelson & Harry Dale this week, the attacking bonus point saw Cargie usurp Harry to finish top of the table despite Harry also winning his fixture this week. They both finished the season on 24 competition points but Cargie had him with an extra 300 fantasy points (3389 - 3090) over the course of the season.
The incumbent OG League Wooden Spoon and spoon to be the back to back to back spoon, Nelson thought he might be in with a shot looking at his oppositions team sheet early in the week. I would say he talked a big game this week but he does every week and eyeballing Cargie's wealth of Crusaders that may be rested or the game being in doubt truly excited him. After Cargie pulled the trigger on some trades, he responded with some of his own but ultimately was only able to muster 13 players to get on the grass and put up scores this week. Nelson even had a bit of luck with pick up Chase Tiatia on the bench being promoted to a start on the wing with Wes Goosen pulled pregame illustrating the importance of your bench and using your trades. This said, you know you are in trouble when your top scorer is Michael Collins, mind you Collins did deliver a 76 point performance but after that apart from Tate McDermott returning to a start with 42 points, that is pretty much where the music stopped. Unlike his club footy team on the weekend, pulling off a win in the 89th minute, it wasn't to be for Where My Hosea At and nelson now faces the reality of finishing 7th on the table and confirming his participation in his 3rd wooden spoon playoff.
0 out of 3 Barretts sucks (266) Vs (600) Roll away Blue!
AJ (6) vs Newbung (4)
AJ was in the unique position of being a result (& a bit of luck) away from both a spot in the finals or that of the wooden spoon playoffs. What does one do in this position, well he hedged his bets and whilst making efforts to field a full side, he also took a calculated risk by trading in the Crusaders Will Jordan for a mainstay of his roster Jordie Barrett. If he couldn't get the win he wanted to make it harder for the one man, Nelson Dale, who could relegate AJ the spoon playoff with a victory of his own. AJ's team took the field without either of the Barrett brothers after which his team has been named and also just down a few men in general. After the Crusaders/Blues game was canned and Alex Mafi was pulled for the reds pregame, AJ ended up fielding only 11 men with a crack at fantasy points. I jested previously that Nelson knew he was in for a bad time when his top scorer was Michael Collins, well frankly that pales in comparison to AJ's top scorer being the 35 year old veteran, Jeremy Thrush with 40 points for the force. Frank Lomani with 39 was the only other score worth a shoutout in AJ's measly 266 total fantasy points, the 2nd lowest score for the week. Whilst despite the loss he'll be happy to have avoided the spoon playoffs, at 3 wins and 4 losses for the regular season, being one win off the finals illustrates just how close-fought this season of Draft Rugby was.
Last but certainly not least, we have the Draft Rugby 2020 1.0 competition leader, Newbung, really turning it on in his maiden season to enter the finals playoffs with some momentum after recording the top score of the Draft Rugby 2020 2.0 season with 600 fantasy points!! He may have lost his club footy match on the weekend in an effort that saw him literally cost him a broken arm, but alas he won the encounter that really mattered and we are sure thats where his priorities lay, in Draft Rugby anyway. His players scored well across the park it would be easier to mention those that didn't, with Wes Goosen being pulled pregame and Mark Telea not able to take the field due to the Blues cancelled fixture. Newbung's had 8 players in the high fantasy scoring Highlanders vs Hurricanes fixture under the roof in Dunedin. The highlight performances were made by trade night pickup Jamie Booth's 65 point haul, manager trade Mitch Hunt (60 points - unluggy Nels), Jack Dempsey with 51 and Vince Aso with 49 points. It's been years since we've had a set of brothers in the finals and whilst they don't take each other on in the semi finals, that only a) sets the scene for a potential Nabung v Nabung grand final and b) puts the odds at 50% that the Nabung family to take home the Draft Rugby trophy in 2020. We'll have to see what their oponents Harry and Cargie have to say about that.
Best Player: Jordie Barrett 77 points (Cargie)
Worst Player: 0 points for Bryce Hegarty, Wes Goosen and Jack McGregor
Best Supersub: Byron Ralston 41pts (Newbung)
Best Free Agent:
Biggest Coaching Mistake (player left on the bench): Nil
Team Scores Round 7:
Finals Rd 1 Fixtures:
Both the OG Semi-finals, and the Wooden Spoon play-off will be played over two consecutive weeks, with a complete redraft of teams for both rounds. The managers with the highest cumulative scores will progress to the grand final or avoid the dreaded spoon respectively.
The OG League Semi-Finals:
Cargie (1st place) V (4th place) Nabung
Harry (2nd place) V (3rd place) Newbung
The Wooden Spoon Grand Final:
Nelson (7th place) V (8th place) NSYNC
Written by your local rugby nerd Harrison Dale.