Baravalle, Golla Discuss Final Match
“How you end the book is, most of the time, how you remember the book.”
Tomy Baravalle debuted with the Dallas Jackals on Mar. 18 at SeatGeek Stadium, the home of the Chicago Hounds, as starting hooker. He could finish the season in the same position this Saturday against the same foe. Asked about his memories of that game, the Rosario native didn’t hold back.
“I remember number 6 tackling me… I hope he plays,” Baravalle stated through a wide grin and infectious chuckle.
Baravalle has his opportunity 13 weeks later.
Within that time, the team has formed a hard-working reputation.
Rookie Sam Golla has taken the league by storm.
Golla was nominated by the Jackals for the S. Marcus Calloway Community Impact Award. The award recognizes the athlete who shows excellence, integrity, character strength, and commitment to making a difference within his community.
He enters the final weekend ranked third in tackles completed with 203 behind Seattle Seawolves’ Charles Elton and teammate Adriaan Booysen, respectively.
The elite rookie played a pivotal role the Toronto Arrows in the club’s first ever win. Cutting across the last Toronto back, Golla dove into the try zone for the full seven, lifting the passionate fans at Choctaw Stadium off their feet.
Dewald Kotze drove in the second try that night before Dallas won X-X.
After claiming the first win in franchise history, the Pack defeated Rugby ATL on Jun. 20 to pick up the organization’s first road win.
“[Baravalle and I] want to close out strong, “ Golla said. “Everyone on the team put a lot of hard work in and we overcame a lot of adversity as a team.”
“I wouldn’t say we’re ready to leave the season because everyone still has a lot to give.”
PLAYING IN THE MLR
Baravalle and Golla are taking their first seasons in the MLR in stride. The Argentine described the league as a “big tournament” that “will grow everyday.”
“This will be one of the best [leagues] in the world in four or five years,” Baravalle said.
2023 MLR Collegiate Draft first overall selection Golla immediately saw elevation in skill between Division I collegiate rugby playing for University of California, Berkeley and the top professional rugby league in North America.
“I expected to be put under a lot of pressure,” the forward admitted.
“I was expecting to get thrown a lot of stuff, as far as me improving my game and I got thrown a lot of that. [The experience] met my expectations and a lot surprised me… including the physicality.”
The Jackals are coming off a tough battle against the NOLA Gold, but feel excited by the challenge in front of them. Golla opened up about the mood within the locker room.
“We had a meeting where we discussed how we want to close out the season. It’s really important we end on a good note. It’s really important to us as players. Whether we make a ton of mistakes or no mistakes, we have to truly enjoy it.”
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