This Saturday in Philadelphia (Conshohocken) at 3pm, two of the oldest clubs in the USA Rugby League battle it out for the inaugural USA Rugby League National Championship.
Each team has traveled a different path to reach this stage but both are united as one of eight foundation clubs in the new formed USA Rugby League. Win or lose, all teams will be represented to celebrate an incredible year that has seen the game transformed through record crowds, quality and number of games played and fans following around the world.
The New Haven Warriors are eager to make amends on their 2nd half loss in the 2010 Championship Final to the Jacksonville Axemen. With their first stage complete by handing the Axemen their first loss on home soil in three years, their next and final challenge for 2011 is as equally daunting. Since forming in 2006, the Warriors have had an impressive record and won the AMNRL Championship in 2008 and went undefeated in 2010 aside from the loss in the Grand Final. Despite a slow start to this year’s competition, the Warriors still hold the reputation of a highly skilled and physical team and have found form at the right time of year.
As for Philadelphia, a victory would see their first and only trophy since being formed in 1998. Irregardless of the score, the Fight have had an impressive year both on and off the field building a solid brand that has resulted in becoming one of the most recognized and followed rugby league clubs in the country. This journey has been one of many challenges going back and number of years when former USA Tomahawk, Ryan McGough took over the struggling club when it was all but done and unable to field a team. Following the Jacksonville blueprint, McGough realized the only way to build a following was to offer a product that would build a fan base and give them something to look forward to. With the help of a new board, committed sponsors, the Philadelphia Vixen Cheerleaders, a steady and growing supporter base, The Fight have fulfilled the requirements to satisfy their loyal fan base… all but one!
On a side-by-side comparison, the Warriors are a far more seasoned team, with several players having more than 20 yrs experience of playing Rugby League. The Philadelphia Fight are fit, young, fast and are well supported by a number of key imports that can easily guide them away from the damaging defense line of the Warriors pack. The last time these teams met was in Round 6 where a depleted Philadelphia team scored in the dying minutes to seal victory and remain ahead of the Warriors on points.
Players to watch for Warriors:
Taurean Sheehan – Hooker (Australia), Andrew “Susie” Maroney – 2nd row, lock (Australia) and Wesley Haughton (USA) playing in the Front Row.
Players to watch for Fight:
Jared Frymoyer – Wing (USA), Joel Week – Halfback (Australia) and Kevin Wiggins – Lock (USA) playing the best Rugby League of his career.
The game promises to be the highlight of an already impressive year.
Saturday August 27th 2011
3pm Championship Kick-off
Gates open at 12pm with pre-game match and activities
Stadium Location and Directions
A. A. Garthwaite Staduim – Fight’s Home Pitch
Harry St and E 11th Ave
Conshohocken PA 19428
Hurricanes Rugby League Jamaica are excited to announce a partnership with London Skolars.
The Skolars are based in the English capital and currently compete in the Championship 1 competition and see the Hurricanes as an ideal partner considering the large Jamaican and broader Afro Caribbean population in London. In fact, there are 4 current Skolars players in Smokie Junor, Lamont Bryant, Jermaine Coleman and Corey Simms who are of Jamaican heritage, along with numerous others that are in the Skolars junior or affiliate ranks.
The partnership between the Hurricanes and Skolars will see both organizations heavily promoting each others activities, information sharing and in time may see a player-loan/share system. The idea is for elite performing Hurricanes players to travel to England to train and trial with the Skolars and the Skolars may also look to send some of their younger players to Jamaica to play with the Hurricanes when they enter the USA competition in 2013.
The link between the Hurricanes and Skolars came about after owners Dane Campbell (Hurricanes) and Hector McNeil (Skolars) met recently to discuss all the possibilities of such an arrangement. Both Campbell and McNeil have a deep passion for the international aspect of the game and agree that the benefits that can be generated by such a partnership will advance the game in the Jamaica, the broader Caribbean and also in London. The Hurricanes will look to use their developing profile to further the ambitions of the Skolars in attracting more Afro Caribbean youth to rugby league. Additionally, the Hurricanes see immense benefit in being able to promote their ambitions and grow their global appeal in such a cosmopolitan city such as London.
Commenting on the partnership Campbell said:
“I have personally known Hector for several years and have kept a close eye on the developments of the Skolars and the opportunity now to be able to link the Hurricanes brand in with them is one that I am extremely excited about. After speaking at length about the opportunities that can be created to both organizations from such a partnership, I am confident that we will see significant interest in the Hurricanes from people in London and across the England. Additionally, we will see opportunities created for our players to further their experience in rugby league, which will ultimately enhance our ability as a team when we enter into the USA competition by 2013.
Skolars owner Hector McNeil commented:
“Skolars are excited by what is happening in Jamaica and in particular what is being achieved through the Hurricanes Rugby League. Given that our club is based in a large Afro Caribbean area we feel it is a great opportunity to partner with the Hurricanes.
There is also the long term aim of giving Hurricanes players a chance to step up to UK professional rugby league and provide a home away from home by involving local community people around the Haringey area.
We always support the development and establishment of RL in new areas. Its great to see seeds sown and the game grow in Jamaica as it has here in London”.
The first official promotion between the Hurricanes and Skolars will be this coming Friday at New River Stadium, where Skolars host Keighley Cougars in the annual “Friday Night Lights”. The game is a last home game of the year for the Skolars and see’s plenty of supporters from other clubs in attendance as they come down from the North of England to watch the Challenge Cup Final at Wembley Stadium in London on the Saturday. At this game, the Skolars will be raffling a Hurricanes jersey, with all proceeds to go to the further development of the Hurricanes Rugby League. The night will also see Skolars promoting the Hurricanes recent Membership Launch.
For more information on the Hurricanes, visit www.hurricanesrugbyleague.com
For more information on London Skolars visit www.skolarsrl.com
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