TITANIC CLASH: ST. PETE OFFENSE v. FT. LAUDERDALE ‘D’

TITANIC CLASH: ST. PETE OFFENSE v. FT. LAUDERDALE ‘D’

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Over the past three matches between the clubs, St. Petersburg and Ft. Lauderdale have alternated between Swans routs in St. Pete and ‘shut-down’ defense in dominating Squids wins in South Florida. FILE PHOTO: Jeffrey S King

With the St. Petersburg Swans hosting Ft. Lauderdale tomorrow afternoon in a 3pm 2017 Florida Derby decider, it’s nearly impossible which script the match will play to.

In what’s been a wildly unpredictable series over the last two seasons, the one constant theme has been big offensive wins by St. Pete at home, followed by dicey and fierce Ft. Lauderdale defense in nailbiting Squids wins in South Florida.

Saturday, the Bloods may be hard-pressed to follow that script if the forecast for wet weather holds true and gives advantage to Ft. Lauderdale’s ball controlling style.

In the last meeting between the clubs, the Squids relied on exquisite passing and teeming pressure to eke out a 36-point win in a match where points were at a premium. St. Pete, on the other, found themselves unable to replicate the swarming attack that propelled them to a 146-38 win in April.

Another factor that might play against the Swans’ hopes to repeat another 100-point margin is Saturday’s ground.

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St. Petersburg will be hoping for the return of ex-pat ruckman Jason Blackbourn in tomorrow’s tilt vs Ft Lauderdale.

While both St. Pete home wins against Ft. Lauderdale have come at the friendly confines of Four ‘N Twenty Field – a gridiron football field – Saturday’s tilt will play out on a 140m oval on the Common at Crescent Lake Park.

Even though the Common is also St. Petersburg’s training ground, the faster track and tight spaces at Four ‘N Twenty have proven to be the Red & White’s venue of choice over the past two seasons.

The wide open spaces of the Common might also play to the Squids’ skills, as the club is the only USA side to play at a regulation cricket oval.

While the Swans are hoping for the return to action of experienced ruck Jason Blackbourn, coaches Greg Bray and Matt Elliott are likely to deploy a duo of speedsters in Kyle Roun, Austen Kugler to take the top off the Ft. Lauderdale defense.

Saturday’s match is a 3pm ball up at the Common at Crescent Lake Park in St. Petersburg.

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