|Nick Johnson with ball. Dropkick photo|
Metropolis slid into second place in the Midwest West with a 27-24 defeat of the Chicago Lions in Chicago Saturday. With both teams entering the bout with a los to Palmer already in the books, it was a swing game, as the loser lost its winning record and the winner poised itself for a favorable postseason position.
Metropolis opened with a try, and the host Lions roared back with 10 unanswered points off of a converted try and penalty goal. Just before the halftime whistle blew, Metropolis nudged back in the lead (12-10) with an unconverted score.
Chicago opened the second half with its second try, but Metropolis countered with a scoring run that couldn’t be caught. Down 27-24 after knocking on the door since about five minutes to go, the Lions’ attack was turned away for good.
The Minneapolis club has undergone a youthful infusion since last season, and the resulting inexperience had Metro coach Nathan Osborne concerned.
“They can throw caution to the wind at any stage,” Osborne of his youngsters. “Off a turnover about 30 meters from our line, instead of kicking it to the corner, which I would have done, they spun it out wide. At the end of the day, great. We can live and die by it. I’m happy to live and die by the sword if we’re going to throw it around, because that’s why we were up.”
Metropolis is so young, one of their second rows celebrated his 18th birthday the morning of the match.
“It was a big win for us, bigger than even I was expecting, with the young team that we’ve got. Just to see how excited the boys were about the win…It was our first road trip of the year, so for a lot of guys it was the first time going away and playing some rugby, getting on a bus and all that funs tuff that comes with playing men’s club rugby, like sleeping in a hotel.
“I woke up and they were all singing happy 18th birthday, so it took me back a little, because I’m only 31 and I feel like I’m well and truly over the hill playing rugby,” said Osborne, “so all of these young guys are getting me excited again.”