Starting Adam Siddall at fullback against Canada was a big ask. Until a couple of weeks ago, he’d never been in a USA assembly, never been taught the Eagles attack or defense principles, never played an international test and rarely played fullback.
“It was a busy week leading into it, learning all the calls,” said Siddall, the New Zealand-bred Old Blue product. “But I felt pretty comfortable with the guys I was with out there when we were out on the field.”
Siddall stepped in and struggled a bit in the early goings, as Canada was effectively able to paint the corners and pin the ball deep in the USA’s end without much of a counterattacking threat. But Siddall, adjusting to the new position, improved as the game wore on.
“I was nervous to start with but settled into it and got a little more comfortable,” he said. “Initially they were plugging the corners, and it took a while for me to adjust and really combat their offense with the boot. I settled into it and felt like I played a lot better in the second half.”
Not only was Siddall into his first test match at a new position, he was given the tee and asked to kick for the Eagles’ points in a game that was sure to be close. Siddall missed his first shot at goal, but confidence in that part of his game never waned.
“I was pretty confident going in that I was going to hit my penalties,” he said, “but definitely when you bang them over it feels good.”
Siddall is not a shoe-in to start in the Eagles’ next game against Ireland June 8 at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, as regular fullback and capable kicker Chris Wyles will be back in the mix. But Siddall could get action Friday night when the Eagles play a side, largely of reserves and fringe players, against Glendale at Infinity Park.
Either way, Siddall will be ready for an improved outing whenever he next takes the field for the USA, and it appears he could be in the Eagles setup for a while, at fullback or flyhalf, providing much-needed depth at both positions.
“Flyhalf’s my primary position, so it’s about learning the subtleties of defensive lines and offensive lines with the guys that are in the midfield,” he said. “I think I’ll definitely be a lot stronger in two weeks time.”