For the third year in a row the defending champion London Warriors will take on arch rivals, the London Blitz in the British American Football championship game, BritBowl XXIX. In fact, this will make it the 10th straight appearance in Britain’s title game for the Blitz and they have won five. The Warriors have won the last two and are making their fifth appearance.
Britain’s premiere American football website, Double Coverage, has provided us with their preview of what has become the annual cross London title clash.
There’s a little less distance for them to travel this time, Allianz Park is only a 20 minute drive from Finsbury Park on a good day, but once again the top game in the country sees these now familiar rivals take each other on. What has been written before about these two teams still applies. Their players, coaches and management staff have pushed out teams that are untouchable on the field unless playing each other.
As is the norm though, this game is not without intrigue. The Blitz have a QB conundrum, just as last year, with season long starter Josh Adamson playing second fiddle to last years starter Tim Liechti in the last game of the season (a win against the Warriors) and throughout the post season. Do the Blitz go with their start of season number one, or do they once again go for a proven backup who has started in the big show before?
One thing they can rely on is the production of their defence, who would surely have a lot to say if you were to hand the crown of best defence in the country to the team they face this Saturday. The Blitz must be encouraged by their end of season victory, the first against the Warriors in a number of years, especially the younger players who had never been part of a regular season victory over the Warriors.
The biggest step up was made by the Blitz secondary, who looked like a unit transformed from the mauling they received earlier in the season and they’ll need to be on that form again if they are going to challenge.
It’s been a strange month for the Warriors.
If they had ended the season the same way they started I don’t think many people would be betting against them. The combination of Brad Thompson booming deep balls to Luc Benjamin and the power running of Dwayne Watson had proven to be too much for many teams (apart from the SWARCO Raiders in Austria, who were still given a scare), including the Blitz, who were hammered in the first fixture. However a spate of injuries and absences to key players, including the absence of Watson in the semi finals, has seen the offensive production falter.
A fortnight ago the once untouchable Warriors were made to look ordinary by a fired up Tamworth Phoenix squad that came one ridiculous one handed catch (courtesy of a Jacquet to Benjamin connection) away from being in the finals themselves. However one thing the Warriors have always been able to rely on is the domination of their defence. A unit with talent like Ariel Monfondo, Sam Obi and Leslie Wilson (and I apologise to those I left out!) can never be counted out to make a play when they need to.
So to the game itself.
The quality of the two teams competing can not be in question, they have shown they can mix it with the top teams in Europe as well as dominate their domestic opponents.
Last year, a defensive slugathon took place, but this year with all the question marks hanging over both programs, there is a level of unexpectedness and excitement. It’s very hard to pick between these two teams, but it’s demanded that I have to and thanks to the injuries and issues the Warriors have, I can’t help but feel a repeat of the end of season game may be looming, with the Blitz swarming the run game and asking questions of the Warriors passing game. Blitz to win by a score.