Barbarians clinch spot in playoffs after physical Green Bay match.

After battling for a 41-15 victory on Saturday over Green Bay, the Milwaukee Barbarians have clinched the top spot in the Great Lakes League in the Western Conference of Division 2. This will mark the club’s first postseason appearance since 2016.

Game of the week

There was a lot at stake this past weekend when Green Bay were in town to take on the Barbarians. Green Bay entered the season as the 2022 Great Lakes champions, and had only lost one match this season. That loss was a narrow, 22-19 barn-burner with the visiting Barbarians capturing victory at the final whistle. 

Meanwhile, the Barbarians were coming into the match with a perfect 6-0-0 record knowing that a win over the visitors would launch them into the postseason. A win for Green Bay would put that in jeopardy.

It’s not surprising then that the Midwest Rugby Union designated the match a “Game of the Week”.

A physical 1st half

The match began with both sides probing cautiously, and settling their nerves. The teams traded possession numerous times early on with neither able to gain an advantage.

A pair of well-worked tries however put the Barbarians up 14-0 after 20 minutes. 

Then it was the visitor’s turn to go to work. On the back of numerous penalties, Green Bay worked their way into the red zone and camped there. The Barbarians defense repelled wave after wave of attack until finally giving way.

With the score at 14-5, momentum had clearly shifted towards Green Bay. But a pair of errors cost them dearly as Milwaukee ran in two tries before the half time whistle, stretching the lead to 28-5.

Defense wins the second half

The second half was a little quieter, with both sides ratcheting up the defense. 

Green Bay worked another well-earned and converted try, as well as a penalty kick, bringing their total haul to 15.

Despite a yellow card, Milwaukee managed two more tries to carry the day 41-15 (see all of the 2023 results) with Ty Ash getting “Man of the Match” honors.

1st place clinched

With one week left in the regular season, the Barbarians are top of the Great Lakes League and have a guaranteed spot in the playoffs.  This sets up a midwest semifinal on November 4 against the Eastside Banshees, the winner of the Northern League.

Here are the standings after the first 9 rounds:

GREAT LAKES LEAGUEGPWLTPFPAPDBTBLFFPTS
MILWAUKEE BARBARIANS770032010221860034
GREEN BAY RUGBY852134819914961029
MILWAUKEE RUGBY74301821582452122
FOX VALLEY MAORI7160207358-1514109
CHICAGO LIONS D27061107347-2402013
Standings after 9 rounds.

Home semifinal still to play for

The 10th and final round of the regular season will be a Milwaukee derby as the Barbarians host MRFC at Brown Deer Park at 12pm. Although the Barbarians narrowly won in their last fixture, MRFC remain a powerful opponent.

And with an unexpected cancellation on Saturday, MRFC head into round 10 well-rested. With a perfect regular season on the line, they will be motivated to spoil the Barbarians party. So you can expect an exciting and competitive match. 

Besides a perfect record, the Barbarians are also playing for home field advantage in their semi-final on November 4. A win would guarantee another home game for the Barbarians. 

Vic Drover
Vic Drover

Vic has a long history in and around the sport of rugby both in Canada and the US. He has played for and started numerous clubs (Vandal's RFC, Strathcona Druids, Suffolk Bull Moose, West Side Harlequins, Milwaukee Barbarians, Hamilton Girls Rugby), and served many roles over the years at all administrative levels. Vic joined the Harlequins in 2007 and remained an active club member through the transition to the Barbarians. These days, he spends his rugby time playing tag rugby and touring with the Old Boys, keeping the club website updated, helping organize the Lakefront 7s, and fundraising.

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