So after a long break, where well I just needed to recharge and also my regular job got really intense and busy, I am finally able to came back and start writing about the sport I love once more. I’d like to just say a thanks to everyone that did write to me seeing if everything was OK and its nice to know that RLIS is appreciated. But probably by the end of the year there will be changes, but more on that later. So lets get into things. I will start locally here in the USA with the first post.
I’m probably a few weeks behind with this but the new seasons of both the AMNRL and USARL have begun and also the USARL 9s had been played. Tough I may have been a bit absent online, I still have managed to get out and see some games. I got out to the USARL 9s tournament and a couple of the AMNRL and USARL games. Unfortunately the AMNRL 7s tournament (still not sure why they persist with 7s?) was on the same day as the open house we had at work which took precedence for me and most of my time.
The third instalment of the USARL 9s saw it return to it’s original home at the A. A. Garthwaite Stadium in Conshohocken, Philadelphia. This of course is the home ground of the Philadelphia Fight Rugby League Club in the USARL. The tournament saw the return of the New Zealand Police Fencibles who returned to try and defend their title. The weekends activities started the day before with the launch at the valley Forge Casino. A team from Australia had also flown over, the New England Echidnas. Also the Dunhaney Park Sharks from Jamaica made the trip as well and the tournament provided valuable blooding of new players for the Jamaicans. One familiar face with the Echidnas was none other than Nathan Blacklock who is playing some bush footy these days and working with the kids out west.
The tournament overall was a great success, though the crowd was kept to about 100 through the day due to consistent rain it was plain to see that the players were enjoying themselves. This year one of the surprises was that an AMNRL team, the Bucks County Sharks played in the tournament as well and won their group.
|1||New England Echidnas||3||2||0||0||1||2||6|
|2||Rhode Island Rebellion||3||1||0||1||1||0||2|
|3||Washington D.C. Slayers||3||0||0||2||1||1||1|
|1||Dunhaney Park Sharks||3||1||0||1||1||1||3|
|2||Bucks County Sharks||3||1||0||1||1||1||3|
|1||New Zealand Police||3||2||0||0||1||2||6|
The New Zealand Police eventually defended their title, winning the USARL 9s for the 3rd straight year. The Fancibles came up against the home town lads, The Philadelphia Fight, in the final and were convincing winners 22-0.
This opening round of the AMNRL season saw the New York Knights have a close win against the Connecticut Wildcats and The Fairfax Eagles also defeat the Pennsylvania Bulls, or is it still Aston, it seems difficult to know sometimes. However I was able to get out to the Bucks County Sharks game against the Northern Raiders.
This same fixture last year saw a very spiteful game between the two teams with players getting sent off left and right and the referee eventually abandoning the game after only 60 minutes of play. Fortunately nothing as eventful this year, however a 90 minute delay in the kick-off due to some of the Raiders players getting stuck in a car that broke down on the way down to Levittown. With proceeding finally kicking off, the Sharks dominated from the beginning. It seemed that no matter what the raiders did they could not hold onto the ball. The Sharks would swoop in on any droped ball and were able to exploit both wings well to run in try after try.
At the back end of the first half and the start of the second the Raiders did manage to get in a couple tries but it was the Sharks that tool the most advantage of what was in reality a very scrappy affair from both team. For either team to be competitive in this season, they really do need to keep up ball security much better. Teams like the New York Knight will really punish any mistakes.
AMNRL Standings After 4 Rounds
|1||New York Knights||4||3||0||0||1||94||50||44||15|
|3||Nth Virginia Eagles||3||2||0||0||1||82||46||36||10|
|5||Bucks County Sharks||3||1||0||2||0||70||52||18||6|
|7||New York Nth Raiders||4||0||0||4||0||62||202||-140||2|
I was able to get out to the second round match of the Philadelphia Fight against the Jacksonville Axemen in Conshohocken. This has to be one of the best club games I have seen in the USA. The two favourites came up against each other and it was always going to be a tough affair. With a home ground advantage and a decent crowd of about 150 people they pushed the local boys on.
The fight got things underway with a try in the 20th minute but soon after the Axemen were able to hit back. For the next 40 minutes it went tit-for-tat with scoring opportunities to both teams and at 22-20 the fight were narrowly ahead in the game.
However in the last 15 minutes of the game the Fight were able to really with some amazing defence to keep the Axemen out and this laid the foundation for two more of their own tries. It was, however, clear that there was tension was between the two teams and 5 minutes from the end it boiled over into a good old bru-ha-ha. This fortunately releived the tension somewheat and regular game paly resumed.
It was clear that the Fight and Axemen once again are setting the benchmark for not just the USARL but I think the AMNRL and Rugby League in general in the United States. These are the two teams that really go out of their way to promote the game and put on a fantastic game day experience with proper stadiums and entertainment and amenities. Many teams in the USA could learn a thing or two by seeing what they do.
USARL standings After 5 Rounds
|3||Rhode Island Rebellion||5||3||0||2||244||184||60||6|
|4||Washington D.C. Slayers||5||2||0||3||224||112||112||4|
Since going to these games, I tries to go to the Knights game against the Sharks. Unfortunately and annoyingly it was called off since the Sharks could not get enough players to head up to the City. I actually had three friends who were supper keen to see a game of League since I talk so much about it, imagine our disappointment when we showed up to find only the Knight doing a training session and nothing on the internet to say that the game had been called off. We ended up finding a bar and watching the Stanley Cup play-offs.
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