The Chicago Griffins struggled a bit through the 2012 fall season, entering the playoffs as the #6 seed with a 3-4-1 record.
That playoff game was played on the road in Cincinnati, and what’s worse, the Griffins were without two players, lock Graham Harriman and center/flyhalf Andrew Suniula, who were about to join the USA team in Wales.
|The Player of the Week Award is brought to you by Rhino Rugby, makers of high-quality, made-in-America rugby balls, rucking pads, tackle bags, and scrum machines.|
Harriman, a lock for Chicago, was also their main lineout jumper and lineout signal-caller. His absence was a concern. But a key development for the Griffins was the emergence of flanker-cum-lock Erik Jacobsen.
“Eric has really emerged as a leader,” said Chicago Head Coach Wez Parkes. And Jacobsen himself felt it, too.
“I worked a lot with Graham and he has shown me the ropes of playing lock,” said the 6-5 Jacobsen. “I’ve played all over. I even played flyhalf in college! But this was my first full season at lock. I had to step in to do the lineout calls and learn a lot about situation stuff. It was good.”
The Griffins team is on that it in transition, said Jacobsen. They have moved from a Super League team concentrating on the spring to a DI team concentrating on the fall and then the spring playoffs.
“It was an adjustment,” said Jacobsen. “But we have had a core group of 12 to 15 guys who have all provided leadership. And over the last few weeks we felt we were getting better and coming together more. We knew we’d be without Drew and Graham, and during the ARC we were without Graham and Tim Paulsen. But we hung in there.”
And Jacobsen was a huge part of that. He helped the Griffins forwards to a crucial 21-20 victory, with the lineout featuring critically. It was Jacobsen’s steadfastness, as much as anything, that helped the Griffins win. For that, he is RugbyMag.com’s Rhino Rugby Men's Player of the Week..