When the fall season started for the New York Athletic Club, they knew it would be tough.
Of the eight league games the team had this fall, they were expecting to have their full complement of players available for two.
It turns out, that was optimistic. Eagle lock Brian Doyle is out injured. Players like Toby L’Estrange are a bit beat up from the ARC and can’t play this weekend – one of those weekends where everyone should be around. It’s tough.
Still, the AC has done well enough, winning all six of their league games and setting themselves up nicely for two big games coming up.
“The big thing we knew there would b a lot of interchange within the team,” said scrumhalf Mike Petri, who is one of those players who will be absent as the Eagles prepare for their November tour. “We’ve been hurt by injuries, and some guys have had personal issues, along with the ARC. But we’ve had other guys stepping up and they will continue to do that.”
Still, playing at Old Blue without several of your key players won’t be easy. Old Blue, which lost to Boston on September 28, has won three in a row since.
“We’re into the business end of the season; we’ve got Old Blue and Boston back to back,” said Petri. “But those are games we have known were going to be there. Whoever plays, we’ve got to iron out the mistakes we’ve been making.”
Petri said the Winged Foot players have been falling off their tackles too much and not committing to team defense. Sure they hung 56 on the Boston Irish Wolfhounds, but they also gave up 20, which they weren’t happy about.
Looking ahead, the NYAC may well have another weapon to call on, and just in time. Former Dartmouth All American and Cambridge Blue Nate Brakeley suited up on the B side last weekend. The 6-5 lock brings power and high-level experience at just the right time, and could well see time with the 1st side this weekend. That won’t make up for the loss of several Eagles, but it’s a start.