Living in the USA, I guess many of my articles have had more of a North American flavour to them, after all its the games I get to see often and interact with the players and some managers. With the split here there is a very real relevant need to cover the game in any detail here. Fortunately I have several teams from both the AMNRL and USARL I can go and see.
I went recently to a round 6 game in Philly. The Rhode Island Rebellion had travelled down to the Philadelphia Fight. Reputations were at steak. The Rebellion have had a good season so far and sitting in third place. The game against the Fight would be a great test of really where they are in the competition. This game was also good for me as my housemate came out to see what all this Rugby League I always talk about is and not surprisingly he came out hooked on the sport, amazed at the speed and physicality. Subsequently he got up at 6 am to watch Origin with me!
Both teams started out hard, some great physical hits. It was clear the Fight were already a well drilled outfit and were going to dominate the match. The Rebellion did not lye down however. Through the match little did we know that the Rebellion was making some history in the game in the United States. In the end the Philadelphia Fight ran away convincing winners 40-12.
However, at the post match function I was told that a quiet player, Isaac Doe was actually making his debut for the Rebellion and making history. Isaac is the first of the youth players that has come through the program where the Rebellion goes into state penitentiaries. You can read more about the program in the article I wrote last year here. The Rebellion also have the AYRLA U23s program where they had about 70 kids come through and play League this year alone. They fielded a team in the USARL 9s as well. But certainly the story of the day was Isaac Doe, who maybe quiet off field certainly made an impact and his presence felt on the field earning many accolades from his fellow players and the opposition. I got to speak to Isaac after the post game function.
Rugby League International Scores: Isaac, how does it feel to be playing in the Rebellion at such a high level and from your background?
Isaac Doe: It was a challenge that I didn’t want to take on at first because I didn’t want to get hurt but after playing my first game I liked it a lot and couldn’t wait for the next because its so challenging unlike the youth league it was too easy for me.
RLIS: Can you tell us a little more about your background? Where did you come from? How did you find out about Rugby League? What was your path to get to Rugby League right now?
ID: I was born in the ivory coast in Africa my family move to the USA through a refugee program because of a war that broke out in our town. We move to Nashville Tennessee in 2000, Me and my brothers and sister started going to school they was all doing good except me for some reason I was always mad and wanted to fight I think it was because I was expose to so much violence at such a young age and plus we was having some family problems at home and that did nothing but feed my anger even more my mom and “Dad” wasn’t getting along so she move up here to Rhode Ireland with my Older sister and me and my Brothers stay with my “Dad”. After my mom got comfortable she came back for me and my little brother Albert… A couple of years ago when I was 16 I made a mistake that got me lock up for a couple of years and during my time there I met Lawrence and he thought a couple of us who were interested in the game how to play, we did that for a couple of months and the following year a couple of us that was still there went and play in the youth 23 league and my Team went undefeated and won the championship i got MVP with 27 Tries and 1 field goal in 7 games.
RLIS: How do you find Rugby League as a sport? Do you enjoy the Physical side of it?
ID: Rugby as a sport is very Deadly, More Physical than any sport I ever seen or heard of, but over all I like it, I enjoy it a lot it help keep me out of trouble Hopefully I can get somewhere with it.
RLIS: And how did you feel about today’s game, coming up against such a strong team in the Philadelphia team.
ID: At first I thought it was going be easy like the youth 23 league but I was wrong I’m in a whole different ball game now, Philadelphia is a very good team they got the best of us but we’re going to see them in the finals again and that’s when it’s really going to count
RLIS: Is there anything else you would like to say?
ID: I would like to Thank the RI Rebellions for accepting me to their team as part of their Family it really means a lot to me and I would really like to thank Lawrence Almagno, Erick Luwis, Brandan B, and John St John for helping and encouraging me to do better and just being there to support me.
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