Week one of the MEC Premier Division was business as usual, no major shocks or upsets. Both Manchester Teams, Sheffield and Warrington travelled to Nottingham for the first showdown of the season, here is what we learned:
Manchester Titans Came to Play!
The Titans, who have been tipped to take the division again this year, romped to victory in their first two games. The squad were travelling without injured centre Jay Pitchford, who was a massive miss for the team both on and off the field. Despite this, they comfortably took home two wins. Andrew Yuen and Alan Mead look to have the chemistry that takes years to build, combining for 6 TDs on the day. The defence, which is historically the Titans’ weak spot, looked on form. The secondary nabbed several pick 6s and sacks over the course of day; could this be the year they take it a step further in the playoffs?
Warrington Revolution Have Plenty to Work On
Warrington have athletes on the field – Jake Shaw is a fantastic playmaker with the ball in his hands and Richard Keates at quarterback can get the ball out to his targets quickly and precisely. The team play decent football on offence but seem to lack bite on defence. The lacklustre stop unit needs work; at times versus the Sheffield Vipers their defence was being picked apart by the more savvy unit. If Warrington are to survive, they’re going to need to get some stops and let their offence do their work.
Manchester Crows Fail to Take Flight
What happened? The Crows, who went 1-1 with Manchester Titans last year looked a shell of their former selfs in week one. Talha Javed, Matt Wilkson and others were in attendance but after a so-so start against the Nottingham Honey Badgers (tied 6-6 at the half) they faced what was their biggest challenge – the Manchester Titans, who are both geographically and competitively their biggest rivals. The Titans put them to the sword, conceding 51 points. This is normally a tight fixture, what can they do to bounce back?
Improvements Shown by the Vipers
Keith Woodley has developed an arm! Previous seasons, the Vipers played the ball short moving the sticks in a methodical style, NOT TODAY! Keith had no issues going long to his wideouts (that didn’t include stud Dan Sellwood) and placing the ball with precision away from the DBs. They were also missing Luke Bennett who is normally their go-to when they need yards, but not to worry, each WR carried their own threat, making sure that the defence had to be on top of their game to stop them. We had received intel that Keith was leaving this year but if he sticks around for any length of time, this team have something new that may give them the edge in the tougher must-win games this season.
Are Nottingham Ready for the Premiership?
The MEC is normally a division where anyone can beat anyone. Not a division feared by the SEC or the HNC. Nottingham have come up this year after an impressive season in Division One last year but we can’t see how they are going to stay in the division. Losing by 35 points to Warrington, who were also newly promoted, was a surprise. Games like those are paramount to their survival chances. We can’t see them beating either Manchester team or the Vipers, and figure to struggle against the HNC sides soon. Can they get their house in order to climb up the table?
Headline image courtesy of Warrington Revolution