Ciulini Scores Memorable Double as Arrows Fall to DC in Season Finale
The Arrows’ 2022 season concluded with a 50-35 defeat to Old Glory DC at York Lions Stadium on Sunday afternoon.
The matchday was highlighted by the two-try performance of Paul Ciulini, who not only scored his first try in more than three years (a victory over the Seattle Seawolves on Apr. 28, 2019), but also became the first player in franchise history to make 50 appearances for the club. The durable Maple, Ontario native — who has now featured in 50 of the organization’s first 54 matches — was celebrated following the final whistle with a capping ceremony to mark the iconic half-century achievement.
Dennon Robinson-Bartlett, Ronan Foley, and Marcello Wainwright also crossed over for the injury-depleted Arrows, who entered the match with a season-high 14 players on the injured reserve.
It was a dream start for the home side, with Sam Malcolm feeding a sharp pass to Gaston Mieres that allowed the Uruguayan to break the line at midfield just 60 seconds into the match. Robinson-Bartlett kept pace with the fullback to receive the support pass, and flew in the final metres for the match’s opening score. Malcolm added the conversion, his first of four on the afternoon.
Cory Daniel replied for DC by crossing the whitewash on the back of a lineout drive. The post-try glee would be short-lived, however; at the restart, Daniel allowed the high ball to hit the deck, and Foley was first to gather and trot in for a pedestrian five-pointer.
The metronomic first-half continued. An errant pass down the Arrows backline was gobbled up by Peni Lasaqa, who scampered 55 metres to score against the run of play. Once again, Toronto responded in short order, this time off the maul in the hands of Ciulini to put the hosts ahead 21-12.
DC punched back with two tallies ahead of the interval. First up was Junior Sa’u, who received a wide pass from William Talataina to dot down in the corner. Next was Tevita Naqali, who was sprung by captain Danny Tusitala after an initial break from Kyle Stewart. Rohan Saifoloi’s conversion gave the visitors a three-point lead heading into the break.
Ciulini needed only four minutes into the new frame to collect his double, marking the first multi-try match of his 50-cap career. The second try was much like his first, with the lock barging across off the back of a powerful lineout drive to briefly restore the Arrows’ lead.
The match’s turning point came five minutes later when Felix Kalapu found a gap off a ruck just outside Toronto’s 22. Malcolm bravely slowed up the flanker with a last-ditch tackle attempt, but Kalapu had just enough force to push through the tackle to score under the posts; the play proved to be a double-whammy for the Arrows, as Malcom was also forced off due to injury.
DC had another seven-pointer minutes after the restart, with Lasaqa bursting through the line before turning provider for Tusitala.
Late tries in the final stages of the match from Renata Roberts-Te Nana and Talataina, followed by a final Saifoloi conversion, brought the visitors to the half-century.
The final word went to Wainwright, who plucked up a bobbled DC ball and streaked in from 40 metres with the clock in the red; like Ciulini, the loose forward also had a three-year gap between getting on the scoresheet, with the Toronto native last scoring in a road win over Utah on Mar. 30, 2019.
The loss saw the Arrows finish the 2022 campaign with an 8-8 overall record (4-3 in Toronto), with 414 points scored and 390 conceded (+24 points difference). Toronto scored 53 tries throughout the year, marking the same tally as last year’s season spent abroad.
Toronto Arrows Stat Leaders:
Ball Carries: Dennon Robinson-Bartlett, Lucas Rumball – 11
Carry Metres: Gaston Mieres – 147
Tackles Made: Lucas Rumball – 16
Offloads: Ronan Foley, Dennon Robinson-Bartlett – 4
Old Glory DC Stat Leaders:
Ball Carries: Felix Kalapu, Stan South – 13
Carry Metres: Peni Lasaqa – 119
Tackles Made: Cory Daniel – 24
Offloads: Felix Kalapu – 4
Toronto Arrows Score Report:
Tries: Dennon Robinson-Bartlett (2), Ronan Foley (11), Paul Ciulini 2 (19, 44), M. Wainwright (80)
Conversions: Sam Malcolm 4 (3, 12, 20, 45), Will Kelly (80+1)
Old Glory DC Score Report:
Tries: Cory Daniel (9), Peni Lasaqa (16), Junior Sa’u (23), Tevita Naqali (28), Felix Kalapu (51*), Danny Tusitala (56*), Renata Roberts-Te Nana (68), William Talataina (72)
Conversions: Rohan Saifoloi 3 (17, 29, 73)
* = seven-point try
Toronto Arrows Lineup vs. Old Glory DC:
- Lolani Faleiva
- Jack McRogers
- Tyler Rowland
- Adrian Wadden
- Paul Ciulini
- Tomas de la Vega
- Lucas Rumball (C)
- Ronan Foley
- Jamie Mackenzie
- Sam Malcolm
- Dennon Robinson-Bartlett
- Guiseppe du Toit
- Ueta Tufuga
- Kobe Faust
- Gaston Mieres
- Andrew Quattrin
- Cole Keith
- Isaac Salmon
- Kyle Baillie
- Marcello Wainwright
- Sam Reimer
- Will Kelly
- Conor McCann
Header Photo Credit: Marcus Hobbs
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