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MLR Expansion Draft: NOLA Gold

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MLR Expansion Draft: NOLA Gold

Nola Gold completed the 2020 shortened season in 4th place with a 3-2 record. The team moved to a new facility at the Shrine on Airline and converted the former baseball stadium to a rugby pitch.

Editor's Note: Our list of unprotected players is our list alone—not an official team list of unprotected players but our speculation based on what we know.

The team signed 41 players to either MLR contracts, Associates, or short-term match contracts due to injuries. Of those signed, five players were between 30-38 (Kane Thompson 38, James Irey 33, with Cam Dolan, Carl Meyer, and Kavika Peniata 30). Nineteen players were 21-25 (Scott Gale, Billy Stewart, Moni Tongauiha, Kevin O'Sullivan, Kevin O'Connor, Ignacio Dotti 25, Matt Harmon, Malcolm May, Nick Feakes, Trace Bolstad, Kenneth Jinkins, Brian Ptomey, Lindsey Stevens, JoJo Tikoisuva, Cam Troxler (May) 24, Julian Dominguez 23, Tabo Maree, William Waguespack22, Konor Coan 21). The remaining 17 were 26-29.

Props included Matt Harmon signed through 2021 at loosehead with Kevin Sullivan as the primary replacement and John Sullivan another reserve. Konor Coan did not play during the regular season. Tighthead props included starter Dino Waldren signed through 2022 with Ben Tarr the primary reserve and James ‘Doc’ Irey playing in one match. Kavika Peniata did not play during the regular season.

Hookers included Canadian international Eric Howard, who is signed through 2021, Cam Falconthe primary reserve with Lindsey Stevenswas a late injury signing and played in two matches, starting one. South African Cullen Collopy was signed, however, he did not play due to his visa not being approved.

Both Canadian international and captain Kyle Baillieand Uruguay international Ignacio Dotti were starters until Dotti sustained a season-ending injury. Billy Stewart played in all matches, starting three times. Kane Thompson, who is signed through 2022, was a reserve at both lock and No. 8 and William Waguespack continued to play with New Orleans RFC.

The back row consisted of U.S. National team No.8 Cam Dolan signed through 2022, with Chile National team lock and back row Nikola Bursic signed through 2021 and Moni Tongauiha at blindside and openside flanker, respectively. Both Malcolm May and Kevin O’Connor each started one match and played another as a reserve. South African and former Arkansas State Graduate Tabo Maree and Giovanni Lapp did not play during the regular season.

Aussie Scott Gale claimed the starting role at scrumhalf with Holden Yungert played in three matches, starting once and is signed through 2021. Australian Robbie Coleman started at flyhalf, except for the first match with JP Eloff was unavailable. Trace Bolstad played two matches as a reserve.

Centers included Australian Con Foley at inside center and South African Carl Meyer at the outside, although he did ply fullback twice. Both are signed through the 2022 season. Ross Depperschmidt played in three matches, one as a starter.

The back three saw JP Eloff, signed through the 2021 season, starting twice at fullback. Argentina Sevens player Julian Dominguez through the 2022 season. He started on the left-wing and was a key addition. He was paired with Tim Maupin on the right. Shawn Riley played in three-matches, starting once, and Nick Feakes, who joined the team after a visa delay, was a reserve at wing and fullback. Brian PtomeyJonathan PooleKenneth JinkinsJojo Tikoisuva, and Cam Troxlerdid not play during the regular season.

General Manager Ryan Fitzgerald has signed key players to 2-3 year contracts. A team need will be to add an experienced lock in the next two years. The team has younger reserves, but also may need another experienced veteran in the future.

The team has 11 players to leave unprotected. The actual number is unknown due to short-term contracts and the signing of Associate contracts. Short-term contracts were likely given to Lindsey Stevens, Trace Bolstad, and Brian Ptomeyif that makes them eligible for the Expansion Draft, they would be unprotected. Konor Coan, Kenneth Jinkins, Giovanni Lapp, Cam Troxler, Jonathan Poole, and William Waguespack likely had Associate contracts. Jojo Tikoisuva would be on the unprotected list.


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