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MLR Expansion Draft: Old Glory DC

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MLR Expansion Draft: Old Glory DC

Old Glory DC was the surprise team in the league. The expansion team played before a sold-out crowd in the home opener at Cardinal Stadium on the Catholic University campus and finished third in the standings with a 4-1 record.

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.

Old Glory had 36 contracted players with seven 30-35 (Api Naikatini 35, Tendai Mtawarira, CiaranHearn 34, Josh Brown 32, ThrettonPalamo31, Matt Hughston30). Eighteen players are 20-25 (Dylan Pieterse, Jason Robertson, Max Lum, Sean Hartig, VetekinaMalafu, Tyler Myles, 25, MungoMason, Michael Reid, Cory Daniel 24, JamasonFa'anana-Schultz, TevitaNaqali, Dante Lopresti, Jack McLean 23, Gordon Fullerton, Mike Dubulas, Jack Iscaro, Nic Mirhashen22, Will Vakalahi20). The remaining eleven players are 26-29.

The team improved with the arrival of South African international Tendai Mtawariraahead of the team's home opener in the second week. He made two starts and made numerous appearances in the community.

After the season, he expressed that he may not have another season left in the tank. That would be a shame, as he wanted to make an impact in the community. It is hoped that he will return and the team will likely leave him unprotected in the expansion draft. Should he play in MLR next year, it will be in Washington DC.

Australian and USA Selects prop Jake Turnbull, played in all five matches in 2020, starting three at loosehead. Gordon Fullerton, a 22-year-old Kiwi, started four times at tighthead with another appearance as a reserve. Will Vakalahiwas the tighthead reserve. Khalid Williamsplayed in one match as a reserve and Max Lumplayed in two off the bench at loosehead and hooker.Jack Iscaro, who trained in the Fall with the Glasgow Warriors, was injured during the pre-season.

Hookers for the team included USA National Team's Mickey Sosene-FeagaiDante Lopresti, who played in four matches, starting twice, with Max Lum and Mo Katzbeing named to reserves at hooker once.

The team performed well in the lineouts with Fijians Tevita Naqali and Api Naikatiniplaying key roles with South African Dylan Pieterserotating in as the third lock.

Flankers included Canadian international Travis Larsenat blindside and Scotland Sevens Mungo Mason, who was the team's co-captain at openside. Matt Hughstonand Spain's Nic Mirhashem, who played for Cal, were key reserves. Jack McLeanalso played in one match as a reserve, while Dacoda Worthand cross-over athlete Cory Danielspent high-performance time with the Old Glory/Capital Selects.

Rounding out the forwards are USA National Team No.8 Jamason Fa’anana-Schultzand exhibition season captain and EMT Josh Brown.

The starting halfback combination of Kiwi's Danny Tusitala, a Samoan international, and Jason Robertson, one of the leading MLR scoring leaders, were key team leaders. They were backed up by Michael Reidand Mike Dubulaswith Sean Hartigand Tyler Mylesnot seeing regular-season action.

Center starters included Canadian international Ciaran Hearn and former Eagle Thretton Palamo, the team's co-captain. The back three featured Canadian international Doug Fraser, along with Kiwis Declan O’Donnelland Renata Roberts TeNana. Both Vetekina Malafu, the Flyin' Hawaiian, and USA Rugby League star Ryan Burroughsdid not play during the regular season. Dylan Taikato-Simpson, who also is from New Zealand, was the fullback.

Old Glory DC will need to sign a couple of younger centers to back up Hearn and Palamo, as well as a couple of experienced props, sign a young lock, and develop a backup fullback.

The team needs to leave six players unprotected for the expansion draft and will utilize ties to the area as a factor. Tendai Mtawarira, who should he return to the MLR, will play with Old Glory. He has expressed his reluctance to continue as a player. Mo Katz appears to be the 4th hooker. With a choice between protecting either Dacoda Worth or Cory Daniel at flanker, Worth is in the U.S. Army and will be left unprotected due to employment ties to the area. Sean Hartig is the third scrumhalf and Tyler Myles the third flyhalf. The final inclusion is a choice between Vetekina Malafu or Ryan Burroughs, who is from Northern Virginia. Although Burroughs is not as likely to relocate, the team may provide Malafu with an opportunity to join an expansion team.

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