It’s Hard to Keep a Game of Rugby League Down

By Daniel Andruczyk

Despite a massive Hurricane (Hurricane Irene) hitting the East coast of the USA and Philadelphia getting a big brunt of it, it was not enough to cancel two of the penultimate events on the Rugby League Calendar in the United States. The Colonial Cup Between the USA Tomahawks and Canada Wolverines was brought forward a couple hours and the USARL Grand Final was brought forward by an hour. It shows that not even a hurricane can keep a good game of Rugby League down.

Philadelphia the Inaugural USA Rugby League Grand Final in an Absolute Thriller

By Daniel Andruczyk

Philadelphia Fight 28 (18) – (0) 26 New Haven Warriors

The Philadelphia Fight have won their first ever Rugby League Premiership. Philadelphia the fight may have had a home ground advantage but no one told the New Haven Warriors that fact.

Though it’s a game that could have never happened as Hurricane Irene has been bearing down on the East Coast of the USA, things were looking touch and go for the city. It was decided to move the game forward by an hour from 3 pm to 2pm to miss the worst of the storm.


Though still wet and raining, a good crown turned out to see the game. The Fight were the first to come out of the blocks and raced away to a 18-0 lead in the opening 20 minutes with one of the tries of the season coming from an individual effort from Joel Weeks. This stirred New Haven into some outstanding defence and held off conceding any more points. The fight went into the half 18-0 up and with their tails up.

Crowd of 160 or so were treated to the Vixens doing their dancing and as I heard one person say “I can’t believe they are flipping around in the wet!” The crowd was very vocal and seemed to be quite partial to the home team.


The Second half saw a rejuvenated New Haven side. In an amazing 20 minutes of Rugby League they were able to pull the score back to within 6 scoring converted 2 tries. In the last 20 minutes the two teams went tit-for-tat on tries with scores being level at 22-22 at one point. The match have a lot of energy to it with the two teams having a good old fashion scrap from the scrum with the Referee having to step in and calm things down. It then came down to the last 10 minutes both teams pushing hard for the line. New Haven went in to go into the lead 26-22 and then about 2 minutes from the end the Fight went over to seal an absolute thriller 28-26.

The fans were celebrating, running onto the field to celebrate with their team. New Haven despite the disappointment go home with their heads held high knowing that they had just played in the game of the year! Talking to Ryan McGough and Anthony Meyers who are co-owners of the fight were ecstatic with the win “It’s great for the league, It’s a wonderful turnout, I can’t believe 200 people came out in a hurricane!” Anthony goes on to say “New Haven are a quality side, they have been in two championships, they wanted it in the second half and brought it back”. As for next season, they will start working on that tomorrow they say.


Philadelphia Fight 28Tries: Quirk, Tampano, Weeks, Evangelista, Goals: Timpano (2), Weeks (4)

Sean Staunton, Jared Feymoyer, Patrick Quirk, Mike Kelley, Mike Timpano, Rich Henson, Joel Weeks, James Coleman, David, Wilmore, Matt Webster (c), Larry Madden, Andrew Tully, Kevin Wiggins, Joe Bascelli, Joel Beasley, Subs: John Evangelista, Joe Henson, Daniel Gabrielli, Martwain Johnston

New Haven Warriors 26Tries: Muliumu, Buck, Kelly, Moroney, Kosbob, Goals: Schact (3)

Keith Nelson, Joe Roucken, James Mcowan, Ed Reed, Brian Lee, Damien Omalveney (c), Siose Muliumu, Blair Wards, Taurean Sheehan, Matt Callan, Karl Buck, Ben Kelly, Andrew Moroney, Wesley Haughton, Amosa Lio, Subs: Justin Xenelis, Chris Yeargen, Jeremy Kosbob, Brian Schact

Crowd: 167

Tomahawks Too Strong for Canada in Wet Conditions

By Daniel Andruczyk

The Other match played in Philadelphia saw the Tomahawks and Canada in the Colonial Cuip. This was their next warm up for the World Cup Qualifiers. They took on the Canadian Wolverines with both teams braving Hurricane Irene. The match was brought forward by two hours to try and miss the worst of the storm.


The match was very scrappy in the wet, both teams creating many opportunities but failing to put any 4 pointers on in the 1st half. Every time there was an opportunity it seemed like a knock on would happen. About 10 minutes from the half it was locked in at 2-2 however it was looking like Canada had the better last 5 minutes and would score. A forward pass put an end to those thoughts and both teams went into the break thinking what needs to be done.

In the second stanza it was the Americans that came out firing with three tries in the opening 20 minutes. They raced away to a 18-2 lead and then knuckled down to deny the Canadians any points. In the end in a wet game it was the Tomahawks coming away with the win and have their tails up when they travel to Toronto in a few weeks for the return leg.


USA Tomahawks 18 (2): Fitz-James Adams, Leslie Alovili, Gareth Baxendale, Bryan Confer, John Convery, CJ Cortalano , John Dykeman, Ian Elliott, Michael Garvey, Andrew Kneisly, Xavier Lozinguez, Kelly McGill, Apple Pope [Capt], Thomas Ray, Joshua Rice, Justin Ripley, Charlie Rizzo, Touanga Talakai, Sean Taylor, Salesi Tongamoa, Louis Tulio , Alejandro Valentin

Canada Wolverines 2 (2): Robin Legault, Tony Felix, Geoff Bylund, Christian Miller, Matt Pettie, Jamie Lester, Matt Wyles, Steve Conlon, Chris Diamond, Louis Robinson, Cam Grace, Henry Miers, Tyler Allen, Graham Dobbs, Dale Fitzgerald, Mike Reid, Steve Lamb, John Felix.

Crowd: 25

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47 Responses to “It’s Hard to Keep a Game of Rugby League Down”

  1. Chris Sanders says:

    I don’t care what the size of the crowd was at the Colonial Cup considering the circumstances at the time.Still an International Game of Rugby League that will go down in the history books.
    No doubt all the doubting Thomas’s will rubbish the size of the crowd but I notice that these people never,ever rubbish the size of the crowds at NSW Cup Rugby League matches even when entry is free which usually draws a man and his dog.
    The pot calling the kettle black.

    • druzik says:

      Actually lots of people do complain about the crowds there… but that is the problem you get with an alitist competition.

      Think about the structure Chris.

    • RIR says:


      The issue that arises when you dont have a crowd in the USA is the fact that most times it means you dont have money.

      Now when we dont have money we dont have the competition nor the sport.

      Crowd Size is very relevant as far as Rugby League in the USA is concerned.

      When you have a crowd it means 3 things.
      1) people actually know about you
      2) exposed to more potential players
      3) Sponsors are more wiling to throw out cash because people will see their name on your jersey or sign at your stadium etc.

  2. dragons4eva says:

    Good win for the Tomahawks considering the domestic issues. Be interesting to see the result next month in Canada!

    Also congratulations for the Fight in America!

  3. alex-p says:

    Does domestic RL in America play with 15 players instead of 13, just looking at the USARL final line ups thats all

  4. Rugby league as a game supporter says:

    Seems you and your posts are very biased. Are you on the USARL payroll? I played for the Fight when McGough took over, we were never short on players. My friends that still play there tell me they are looking for players every week Personally I would like to see the Knights play the fight. My bigger question for any so called “rugby league” fan would be, how can u leave an international to watch a domestic comp? Reading your posts it’s obvious $$$$$

    • druzik says:

      I left, because I was being paid by Rugby league Review Magazine, I had instructions from them to cover both games. It was originally going to be the USARL and then the International, but since they shifted times due to Hurricane Irene, I too had to change my schedule.

      Since the AMNRL did not want to talk to me earlier I was not able to get anything from them, take it up with the AMNRL… I am on no pay role of anyone except RL Review when they ask me to do something, I have been covering both competitions equally throughout the year, I have been supportive of the AMNRL and defended them on many occasions…. not sure where your idea of bias is… Obviously you have a AMNRL bias, no problems with that.

      As for a Knights v Fight match… it would be wonderful to see, I agree… I don’t think anyone will argue that. Also if you would like to have your friends on the fight come on and have their say in an article I will happily air it.

    • Ryan McGough says:

      Who are you RL as a game supporter, you really don’t make much sense.

      We still have no issues with players, and haven’t had that problem thankfully since we started. We are always looking for talented players though which might be what you are trying to say. Winning makes getting players easy.

      Oh, and I would have loved to play the Knights too, I wish that is something the AMNRL would consider but they have no interest in talking with us, which is fine, that is their problem.

      They should talk to us though, we have some pretty top level players that could help the Tomahawks as you can see in our championship game video from Saturday.

    • juro says:

      “… how can u leave an international to watch a domestic comp?”

      Hmmm, yes, one was an international and the other was a domestic match. But on the flipside, one was effectively a trial match and the other was a grand final.

  5. Chris Sanders says:

    I don’t rubbish people for having a go and people should look at their own backyard before criticising others.

  6. RIR says:

    Dan keep up the good work

  7. photomarv says:

    The guy a few posts above stated that “the Fight were looking for players every week”. Don’t know where you got that from. That team is stocked with players.

    Maybe you mean that players from other teams and other sports are looking to play for them. Now THAT is definitely true.

  8. Chris Sanders says:

    At this stage in their development crowds in america don’t mean much.Hell, here in NZ we get bugger all crowds for the local football as well as the Vulcans and we have been going for over 100 years now and we the Clubs of Auckland have milions and millions and millions in the bank, yet our Administrators at the ARL can’t make hay while the sun is out.They’re a waste of time!
    We could buy the whole All Black side if we wanted and still have plenty of money left in the bank cas we are the Richest Sport in the Whole Country by a country mile as Rugby owns fyck all and are losing money hand over fist.
    This what happened in 1937 when the Rugby League brought most of the All Black Side and Carlaw Park use to average 30,000 every Saturday.
    It was the best ticket in town during those times prior to the War.

  9. Chris Sanders says:

    So where’s all the follow up work from the NRL and SL?What are the RLIF doing about it yet Crowe got it in the neck when he didn’t do enough for the game in America.
    I wanted the Kiwis to play a game in America on the way to the 4 Nations, similar to what Australia did in 2004, but Doyle and his circus of clowns said that they wouldn’t venture in the unknown if it was going to cost them money, yet the Vulcans have cost the Clubs of Auckland millions and millions for no return, yet the NZRL gave them permission to go into the NSW Cup in the first place.
    The pot calling the kettle black.And if crowds are everything in America,then the yanks have to play better teams than the NZ Cops,a team made up of broken Senior C Rugby players from Ponsonby.Simple!

  10. waste of time says:

    I was at the Eagles v Canada match in Glendale, CO a few weeks back….. 2000 spectators tops. That is rugby Union, way more established and way more popular in America. Are we assuming League is bigger at this point in America. Chris, you make great points. Why not support the Tomahawks. It is our national team, whether your friends are on it or not is irrelevant.. Too many foreignors in the USARL grand final to count not good for our domestic comp

  11. Chris Sanders says:

    Waste of time you’re a breath of fresh air.I love ya,I love ya like a brother.You hit the nail on the head!
    The Tomahawks is what the Game is all about.Promote the hell out of them and make me Coach,bus driver,cook,washer woman,chief bottle washer,baggage mam,you name it and we will smash the Kiwis into next week and give both the Auckland Rugby league and the NZRL the fingers when we ambush them and win.
    We’ll rub the Kiwis noses into the dirt.I would coach the Tomahawks for nothin and I would also pay for my own airfares,hotels and transportation.
    To is how much this would mean for me and it doesn’t matter what sport it is,no team is unbeatable and certainly not the Kiwis.
    That’s the great uncertainity of sport.

  12. Kingsland7 says:

    With a billion internet users worldwide, we are pretty lucky to only attract one muppet I guess.

    Druzic, have you exerienced any JaxAxe games? and can you clarify how big their crowds actually get?

  13. ParraEelsNRL says:

    Good stuff Dru..
    Time for the two parties in the US to kiss and make up, it’s embarrassing all round.

    Chris Sanders, stop being a complete knobend please, all you do is complain.

  14. Chris Sanders says:

    So what happened when the Kangaroos played America in 2004 ParraEelsNRL?Where was the big cricket score that everyone forecasted including the likes of you?The game finished 36/24 and where was the follw up.No cricket score in my book.
    Show me where I complain all the time.Did I complain about Daniel for inventing the game in Poland?Have I ever complained about the game in America,Canada,Jamaica,Ukraine,Malta,Serbia,Italy,PNG,Fiji,Baltic States,South Africa etc,etc.
    Not true and ParraEelsNRL should change their colours to yellow.
    That would be far more appropriate and look at your own backyard before you criticise others.

    • ParraEelsNRL says:

      Chris Sanders, you complain in just about every bloody article.

      As for the Tomahawks, if you think the Roos played as intensely as they would against England or NZ, you’re a bigger nut that I first thought.

      I still have the video of it and it’s still available to watch at big pond, may I suggest you at least watch the bloody game?

      If Australia put in, they’d beat the score they got against Russia in the 2000 WC.

  15. Kingsland7 says:

    I deeply enjoy the fact that one particular users “Monster Picture” is a one-eyed square with a shaft on its head!

    As much as I enjoy reading a blog riddled with segways leading back to New Zealand Rugby League I have many questions that regard the topic at hand:

    1) how big are philly fights crowds? I assumed that they are the second most supported team in the league after JaxAxe (bringing me to my second question)
    2) How big are the JaxAxe crowds on an average basis?
    3) As many of the bloggers reading may be able to answer from the ground level, do they forsee the USA League’s crowds to expand considerably within the next 5 years?

    • RIR says:

      Jax get about 2k fans…
      Philly in the Hurricane had 200ppl

      The Rebellion in the First season with 200 dollars for marketing got 350 ppl to our last game of the season and averaged 200 plus every game of the season minus the game that we played Boston as it was 4th of July holidays (we still had 100ppl)

      on the 26th of august we put a last minute 9/11 cross code tribute match promoted it for 2 weeks and got 230 people there.

      The Game is about local teams promoting the sport in their hometowns… getting people to come out play and watch.

      If the tomahawks play 4 games a year in different parts of the USA i don’t care if they are playing the Kangaroo’s … no one is going to come to the game.

      The game is to be promoted in each and every city there is a team. That is the only way to grow the competition.

      Oh and of course Jr’s programs like in Rhode Island and Jacksonville …

      My Brain hurts after reading some of these silly posts. Its impossible to comment on something if you never came over to the USA as its different very different than how things are ran in your countries.

  16. Chris Sanders says:

    But there was a crowd of 3,500 when the Tomahawks played the Kangaroos in the so-called mismatch in 2004 RIR.I was pretty happy with that and we saw the game here on mainstream tv in NZ.
    There was much debate about the game.

    • RIR says:

      yes there was a 1 time crowd of that number.

      If you advertise the hell out of something you will get enough people to go. However to convert them to fans to watch every week, thats not going to happen with your strategy mate.

  17. RIR says:

    a top down approach never works. Its a bottom up approach that will make this game last in america

  18. Chris Sanders says:

    What about the 16,000 when Souths played leeds in Jacksonville and didn’t Leeds play Salford at the same place the year later which drew 6,000.At least Rugby League is working in one Town in America and why should others be no different.Not bad crowds in my book and in Russia, which has the same mentality as America, you must work from the tip down, otherwise the game will flounder and that what I noticed, especially in Kazan,Tatarstan and when Kazan staged the most successful Student Tournament in history(Europa Cup)in 2001, it attracted thousands and thousands and thousands, an idea I gave to Igor Petrushinin when I was there in 2000.The key to all of this was Tatarstan coming in as a separate identity and the Government of Tatarstan getting behind the Tournament, by paying the land costs of the visiting teams.And of course America played in Kazan in 2002 where they just lost to the Tatars on a wet and wild night in front of a 10,000 crowd with Dino Vikas as referee. I think in your part of the World it could work by using the Tomahawks as the flagship side and here in NZ they always work from the tip down, but it won’t work if we still got the wrong people at the top of the tree running the game, which we have now at both Auckland Rugby League and the NZRL.Too many snouts in the trough cas they are only there for their huge salaries,a clip of the meal ticket and they have stuffed the game up at the grassroots by putting all their eggs in the one basket, the Warriors, which now is a private liability company and the returns are not there to filter back to the grasssroots.However,when they did have control of the Warriors, they(Auckland Rugby League) pissed the proceeds up against the wall and the joint went broke and it was sold for a dollar in 2001 even when Tainui stuffed it further.Again the wrong people in the corridors of power which has been the gradual theme in Rugby League for yonks!
    But I know where you are coming fom RIR!You need to build the foundations from the bottom to the top and you make valid points otherwise a house without foundations will always collapse.This is what has happened to the game here in NZ since 1992 and it’s in a real mess and any game is only as good as it’s front office.
    But it’s going to be a long game, but at long last the game in North America is making gradual progress and they’re forecasting a good crowd for the Canada v USA Game in the next few weeks,which will be shown live(I believe) on National TV.
    This gives your sport profile in your neek of the woods and America will be at the 2013 Rugby League World Cup.As sure as eggs!
    An absolute and the game in America no longer a pipedream!

    • RIR says:

      You make some good points.

      However the game is in Canada and the exposure to the USA will be minimal at best.
      The TV stations in the USA wont carry it as its Canadian, If im wrong please correct me.

      In the USA there are many TV providers that are broken up by regions, Some states dont even share the same televesion Broadcaster. Im in Rhode Island the smallest state in the USA and we have 4 cable/satitlite providers that i can think of.

      In the USA, National teams really dont break the News unless its the olympics, because 7s is now an olympic sport its on the TV.

      Like i said the before the LEEDS games and all those promo games have done well becasue of the effort of the promotion in those home towns. Its a one off event. It has deffinitely helped Jacksonville build a local crowd following, but i didnt hear a damn thing up in Rhode Island about it, and unless your on the Fourms no one else will hear about it either.

      This is the USA and we have a ton of stuff going on in each and every state that takes up media attention. For sports in RI all we hear about is the Celtics, the Patriots and the Red Sox. Then we hear about our College teams, and maybe the Yankees and the Giants.

      Thats it. Thats pretty much how every single other region works in the USA.

      We dont get behind the National Stuff as much as we get behind our Regional Stuff.

      Its not called the UNITED STATES for nothing. Each State is similar to its own NATION in some sense as we really could careless about what else is happening unless its something that will make MSNBC CNBC or FOX news and thats generally political stuff. ESPN you can see the big 4 sports or poker.

      Like i said you need to introduce each locality to the SPORT.
      Thats the only way it will work as no one understands the rules.

      FYI a little background about me. I played Union since i was 15 – Just turned 26, started playing League at 23. The only reason i heard of league is because i Played for OLD BLUE and they have a tight relationship with the Knights and Curtis Cunz used to play for them as well and hes a mate of mind and had me over to play with the Cats and introduced me to MIK Shammass who had me play with boston when i absolutely fell in love with the sport when i was playing for the ‘Wicks down in Sydney.

      So as basically a Newbie to this whole league thing and an “outsider” Trust me when i say its about LOCAL LOCAL LOCAL.

      Thats whawt Philly Does, Thats What JAX does, thats what We do (same with DC BOSTON ONEIDA NEWHAVEN)Thats what USARL DOES thats why we see results.

      We understand its about developing local players at age 12 and developing fans in our home towns.

      Why do you think that every single National Competition or event happens ins Philly or JAX (maybe NYC) because there are Fan Bases their.

  19. RIR says:

    let me add, the same for union, THat the events happen in VEGAS, Colorado, CAL LA… thats where there is a strong following, great facilities and great weather for the events.

  20. Chris Sanders says:

    The trouble in Rugby League RIR is that there’s never,ever any follow up.This happened in America in 1954 but we struck bad luck there (after the American All Stars successful Tour of Australasia in 1953) when our spiritual father Harry Sunderland died on us;there was no follow up in Italy,Yugoslavia and Madagascar or Viet Nam in the 50’s,there was no follow up in South Africa in the 60’s and there was no follow up in Russia and Tatarstan in 2001 onwards.
    We never strike while the iron is hot cas our administrators don’t care a toss.
    Until that changes RIR,our Game will always struggle and most Rugby League people don’t care.But I am happy what is happening in Canada,America and Jamaica and you lot are doing it all without any help from abroad.
    If there’s a will, there’s a way!

  21. RIR says:

    Dan sorry to be off topic… however i think this has merit.

    Please Check out the article on the Rebellion’s 9/11 fundraiser and Please Consider making a donation to the FealGood foundation for injured first responders

  22. Chris Sanders says:

    RIR!I have been talking to a lot of American Rugby Union people down here for the Rugby World Cup and lovely people at that too.
    They say that they play a lot of their Senior Rugby Games in front of crowds averaging 30 to 40 people but it doesn’t seem to worry them too much.
    They’re aware of Rugby League in America and Canada and like their sport, not many top Rugby teams come there as well and they are also in the same boat.
    It seems strange that Jacksonville averages crowds of 2k yet every where else the crowds are not as big.
    The fact that Souths,Leeds and Salford played in Jacksonville recently may suggest that these teams help boost the profile of the Sport in that City but I may be wrong in my analysis and unlike I no expert on American sport and what makes it tick.I leave that to you.
    On another note, we thank people like you, for keeping our sport alive in your part of the World.
    We know it’s not easy and as you well know, I don’t rubbish people in either camp, cas it’s far from easy in a very competitive market place.
    But the RLIF doesn’t help your cause at all, because the people there aren’t interested in the Game, especially from NZ and Austraia.
    Tell me what’s the use for Carter being there along with Gallop.Those 2 have nothin to offer and high time people saw through all of this.

  23. Chris Sanders says:

    ParraEelsNRL.I have watch the video of Australia v America in 2004.The score was 36/24 and not 110/4 which it was when Russia played Australia at Hull in 2000.Stop being mean spirited!Give America some credit!

    • ParraEelsNRL says:

      Mean spirited?

      Mate, all I’m doing is telling the truth, if the roos had of put in, they’d have cracked a record score.

      Nothing wrong with that, it’s just the way it is.

  24. Chris Sanders says:

    But you said the word if.If this and if that!It means stuff all.Go and Read the history books ParraEels/NRL.
    The score was 36/24.No record score.End of story!

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