American Division in the West

By Daniel Andruczyk

Now that I have your attention… some encouraging news this week from the Western AMNRL that is being slowly but surely setting up in the USA. It relates more specifically to the Denver (Colorado) Wolverines and the info from Jeff Eberle. It gives a unique insight to the trials and tribulations of setting up a new team let alone sport in an area.

The Future Looks Bright

The Denver club at the moment has 30 people interested in playing the sport either competitively and socially. The great news is that the majority are all locals, yes Americans that want to play and only a handful of ex-pats. Some seem to be from different parts of the state or country interested in coming to help establish the club. These are great numbers, enough for a foundation of a team in the W(AMNRL). They also are in the process of creating partnerships within the Rugby union community and of course other AMNRL and W(AMNRL) expansion clubs. All this is with the goal of promoting Rugby League across the western region.

Issues Faced


Despite all this there still are some problems facing the Denver team, and am sure many of the other Western Expansion teams:

  1. A Lack of Rugby League coaches. Player interest has been good, but all of the teams are struggling to find there is a general call out to people who may be interested in coaching, or if anyone you know might be interested in coaching.
  2. Travel concerns. With the USA and the West being so big it puts the expansion clubs at a disadvantage when compared to the existing AMNRL clubs along the east coast of the USA. This has resulted in the realization that teams cannot feasibly travel every weekend to a different West AMNRL city for a match.


So what are the solutions to these problems?

  1. Coaches and staff – There is a general call out to people who may be interested in coaching, or if anyone you know might be interested in coaching.
  2. The issue of travel – it has been agreed that a 2011 season consisting of regional “weekend tournaments” will be the best solution.

The region/division that the Wolverines will be part of looks like will be Denver, Salt Lake City, Phoenix and Las Vegas. Each of those cities have people also working to establish clubs and it is hoped that by June 2011, each city will have a Rugby League team and program up and running.


If the other clubs in the region can get established then the focus can be on the weekend tournaments. Two days in a “host” city with 4 teams competing in a “Round Robin”. Every 2-3 weeks over the summer a new city will host a tournament. This “weekend tournament” format will accomplish several goals:

  • It will minimize travel expenses for all clubs involved in the AMNRL western expansion. Meeting every few weeks in a host city will be far more affordable and practical than traveling to a different city each week.
  • This format will maximize games. Instead of traveling each week for one game, the tournament setting will ensure each team will play at least two games a weekend.
  • Maximum exposure. One match may draw a few fans, put a well promoted weekend tournament should draw a good crowd. Promotion of the AMNRL and rugby league in the western region has been identified as a key to its success. There is Merritt behind this as rugby union has grown this way in the Denver area through excellent promotion over the last decade. The same can work for rugby league throughout the west. Marketing and promotion need to be the immediate focus of 2011. Once the AMNRL has established itself in the west, we can focus on a weekly schedule, and a traditional season.
  • Weekend tournaments, every few weeks, will open the schedules of players. Rugby League will not dominate everyone’s summer schedule. Matches will be after the spring union season so there no conflict between the two codes.
  • The plan is still June-July-August in between the union schedules.

This format does not rule out other games if they can be arranged with other teams either, that will be up to each individual team, but the main focus is the weekend tournaments.

Other Developments

It looks as if Denver is a strong contender to host the Rugby League Colonial Cup in May of 2011. This is an annual match played between the USA Tomahawks and the Canadian National team (also called the Wolverines) for bragging rights in North America.  David Niu, President of the AMNRL and Coach of the Tomahawks has stated his interest in hosting the match in Denver to help promote the AMNRL western efforts. There are current discussions on venue and also a date in May.

The Denver Wolverines are now officially licensed as an LLC with the State of Colorado.

A January “Meet and Greet” was being planned to meet all of those who are interested in playing/supporting the Denver Wolverines, but that has pushed back to early February.

There will be Wolverines T-Shirts available in mid to late January. Proceeds will go to the club and be used for jerseys/equipment.


All in all there is some great work being done over in the United States. The East coast already is well Established but looks like now there will finally be a proper Western part of the country, and so the USA, along with Papua New Guinea probably will be the only countries that can boast that Rugby league is played through the whole country.

If you want to help out the Denver Wolverines and other W(AMNRL) teams then here are a few contacts:

Facebook page: “Rugby League Denver”
Club contacts: Nathan Urquhart
Jeff Eberle:


Daniel Andruczyk’s email:
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