What have we learned about the Dallas Roughnecks in their first 3 games?
Not a great deal. The box scores and entertainment have both to fruition as expected. The first two weeks were a great warm up to the road ahead for both the Roughnecks and their fans. While the Austin Sol feature much of the best of Texas, so do the Roughnecks, and then some. Austin has some in-season building ahead before perhaps posing stronger opposition down the line.
It would not have been outlandish to assume a more established team in the Jacksonville Cannons might have given them more run for their oil. That was however far from the case, as the Roughnecks took it to the Cannons early and often, finishing with a final score of 32-17. Jacksonville however, initially came out of the gate fearless. But it may very well have been that bold approach that led to the defining tone of the game.
Gameplay and conversations postgame made it apparent multiple Roughnecks did not take too kindly to the nature of Jacksonville’s overtly physical play early on. One could argue they were even somewhat offended by what they saw as futile, ramped aggression.
After shaky starts in their first two games, the Roughnecks wasted no time beginning the onslaught as bodies and words alike were flying. Beau Kittdredge seemed to be the first to get heated. Early in the first quarter, Beau skied Bradley Seuntjens just in front of the scoring endzone. Waiting for a cut to develop, Kittdrege took the time to flaunt the disc in his face. He then threw to Cassidy Rasmussen for a 4-2 lead, and promptly showed Seuntjens the direction of his bench. The Roughnecks ended the first quarter up 8-2 and never let up. Once again, a Roughnecks W was a forgone conclusion by the fourth quarter, ending on a 5-1 run.
That very aggression was a constant throughout the matchup on both sides. This despite another comfortable, 30+ point finish for Dallas. While Jacksonville maintained their attitude and effort throughout, their quality of play was another story. As usual, Roughnecks opponents found it difficult consistently getting open or making timely throws, but Jacksonville’s pulls at times were flat out unprofessional. (The 3 total OB pulls credited to Jacksonville really felt like more). They were clearly shaken once Dallas responded to the tone the Cannons apparently asked for.
So I suppose at least the Cannons learned something about the Roughnecks. Though they arguably should have already known: Don’t piss this squad off. More importantly, don’t cross the boss.
Though can you blame them? You never go gentle into that good night, even if you’re in for a long one. Perhaps for the Roughnecks it was manufactured motivation. Perhaps the Cannons just happen to choose a particularly unwise day to rattle the cage. Whatever the case the AUDL will certainly take more of that. Despite it being Dallas’ most comfortable victory numerically, it might have been the best in energy to date.
Now they turn to who should be Dallas’ toughest divisional foe: 2015 South Division Champion Raleigh Flyers (4/30, 7pm EST). If the grit of last weekend was in any way to your liking, next week should be an early season marquee matchup for the South.
Header photo courtesy of Sam Hodde of the Dallas Roughnecks - checkout their entire gallery on the team website.