Jamie Mackintosh: “Every Match Is A Grand Final” | Playoff Push Heats Up
As the AG Watch Party wraps up, the cheers of jubilation following a dominant AG victory fades and a chant breaks out across the bar: BEAT LA, BEAT LA, BEAT LA!
The AGs are in an all-or-nothing playoff push; sitting in third place in the western conference down five points on the table, the squad is narrowly on the outside looking in. Two teams remain in the AG’s playoff sights, the red-hot Utah Warriors and bitter rival LA Giltinis.
“And it’s been that way for weeks now,” says stalwart prop Jamie Mackintosh. “For us, every match has been a grand final for us for these last four weeks and that’s where our focus and intensity is at.”
With two regular-season matches remaining, the AGs must win both matches and ideally record bonus points in each win. The squad will also need a loss or a draw from Utah to get into playoff contention. Ask the AG players if they’re checking social media for results of conference foes matches each weekend and you’ll get a resounding no.
“We’re not doing the math, all we care about is winning every match and recording bonus points in those wins,” says Mackintosh. The AGs have done just that these last four matches. They’ll have to do the same on July 10th against LA Giltinis and again on July 17th against DC Old Glory.
How Did We Get Here?
Coming off a bye-week in Week 10, sitting at 5-4 in the standings, the AGs flew into Utah seeking revenge against a Warriors team that spoiled their home opener. After 80 minutes the AGs were left defeated 45-24. In that loss, what became clear was that the AGs were going to have to win every match and record bonus points to stay in the playoff race. With one home match remaining in the final six matches, much of the work was going to have to be done on the road.
The AGs went to Houston with the Texas Cup and stifled their state-rival. Then in spectacular fashion, the squad dispatched a Toronto Arrows team 47-21 and gave the record Austin home crowd a deserved finale. From there, the squad packed up their camp and went to Seattle to edge out the Seawolves; before setting up a temporary base in Oxnard, California for the week leading up to the San Diego Legion match. In San Diego, the AGs overpowered the Legion forward pack in a statement win over 2020’s hottest team.
With a 14-14 tie at halftime of the Legion match, AG Head Coach Sam Harris echoed Mackintosh’s earlier sentiment, “Let me remind you what is at stake, this is a grand final, this is our fifth grand final, and we have to go after this one and we have to go now.”
The AGs will enjoy a four-day rest on a bye-week before beginning preparations for rival Giltinis in yet another must-win match. To make the task taller, the team loses captain Bryce Campbell and scrumhalf Ruben de Haas to international duty for the next two weeks.
“We’re confident in the depth of our team and the leadership of our veteran players,” says Coach Harris. “There are guys battling for spots in the team every week that have been itching to suit up, and now it’s their time to step up in the biggest way.”
Three questions remain: Can the AGs go to LA and take down the Giltinis on their home pitch? Can they repeat the effort on the east coast at DC Old Glory? Will the Utah Warriors miss a step and leave the door open wide enough for the AGs to sneak through?
Every match is a grand final. BEAT LA, BEAT LA, BEAT LA!
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