The Boston Thirteens have had the perfect start to the 2015 USARL competition with a landslide 68-4 victory against the New York Knights.
The match last Saturday at Randalls Island has been described by coach Robin Peers as one where “no one in a Thirteens jersey had a bad game.”
This weekend’s game against the Brooklyn Kings at the Irish Cultural Center has brought some selection headaches for the coach as the team has players returning. Despite this one issue, it shows the quality and depth that the Thirteens have in their squad this year.
In a real positive note for the Thirteens, five eighth and former National Rugby League player Dustin Cooper has returned for the team after missing the 2014 season with a torn hip flexor.
“His communication on the field has a very calming influence on our squad,” Peers said. Cooper’s communication and experience is going to be invaluable as the team have had a short pre-season. Communication will be vital this week in defence against the Brooklyn Kings who scored 34 points in a losing side against Rhode Island Rebellion last weekend.
Brooklyn has been strengthened by their new imports of Anthony Cheng and Jerome Easthope who had strong showings in round one. Nick Youngquest and Brent Richardson are coaches of the Kings and had met Peers through the Gateshead Thunder Rugby League Club in the UK, so victory this weekend has the added incentive of beating their friend(s). Even though they will be competing at the game, Peers said he “looks forward to catching up with them on Saturday.”
This week’s match against the Kings will be played at the Irish Cultural Center in Boston at 12pm this Saturday. This ground caters for Rugby League matches and coach Peers described it as “an awesome venue.” It is great news for the club to be able to utilize facilities such as this.
The team also faces a very tough ask the following week against the Philadelphia Fight. Still continuing their undefeated streak from the entire 2014, the Fight will have plenty of confidence including being finalists of the USARL Nines competition just prior to this season (the final was cancelled due to poor weather). The Thirteens do not want to look past this week’s clash against the Kings, yet they are wary of the Fight who also see this as a vital game on their radar.
Coach Peers recognises that the Thirteens are in a division with “four other strong teams.” The belief is high amongst the team and expectations are high for the season ahead. The team expects to put their best foot forward each week in order to qualify for the playoffs and potentially reach their second USARL Championship Game, the last one being in 2012.