Glendale Faces Dallas Harlequins in Must-Win Game
The Glendale Merlins will play the Dallas Harlequins on Infinity Park’s turf field March 24 at 3pm Mountain Time. Coming off a tough game and resulting tie against the Little Rock Stormers, the Merlins hope home field advantage will result in a win against the ‘Quins. The weekend will be pivotal in establishing the Division I Red River Conference playoff picture.
Photo by Justin Purdy
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The Merlins last game was a hard-fought battle against an improved Little Rock Stormers team. This weekend’s match will pit the Merlins against the only squad in the conference they’ve yet to face, presenting something of an unknown to Head Coach Luke Gross: “The ‘Quins are the only team we haven’t played, so we’re really looking forward to seeing what they bring to the match. They’ve got some big guys on the squad.”
Injuries continue to plague the Merlins, though the team has looked strong when healthy. Asked about the subject, coach Gross was realistic, but complimentary of his squad: “Injuries are hurting us. We’ve struggled with numbers, but the guys that are stepping on and stepping up really have the athleticism to fill those rolls. If we can put things together, I think we can come out with a victory.” Preparation for this critical match dominated practices this week, with the Merlins continuing to work on tackling and defensive structure. Gross explained how the team is dealing with injuries: “We’re focused on getting our guys who are playing out of position more comfortable where they are playing, and we’ve been doing team pattern work on defense and attack.”
The 24th will be another day full of elite club-level rugby for Glendale, with nearly all of the non-professional teams competing. The Merlins Women’s D1 team will host the Utah Vipers at 11am MT, and the Merlins Men’s Division II team will host the Denver Harlequins at 12:30pm. Following a bye week, the Merlins next Division I game is again at home, hosting the as yet undefeated Dallas Rugby Reds on April 7 at 2pm Mountain Time. The Merlins Women’s D1 team will play Denver Black Ice on their home field at 12pm MT on March 31.
Follow all of the Glendale teams on Facebook and Twitter for full-time scores on all games and additional information. All Glendale Merlins home games will be played on Infinity Park’s turf field in 2018, and are free and open to the public.