June 4 kickoffs the start of Summer Footy with USARL’s Season VI and the most anticipated competition since the league’s inception back in 2011.
By Steve Williams | twitter.com/usarlsteve
This summer, fourteen (14) clubs across the east coast and southern states of the USA will take the field in this year’s biggest season. Covering most of the major cities from Boston through the Florida, the distance covered is approximately 1,300 miles or 2,000 kilometers with a population spread of over 100 million all who will have access to watching a Live Rugby League game in the USA.
While clubs continue to compete for bragging rights, many eyes will also be focused on individuals competing for national selection. Here’s a preview of what to expect.
Clubs: Atlanta Rhinos, Central Florida Warriors Jacksonville Axemen and Tampa Mayhem.
The South will rise again and expect big things along with a few surprises from the southern boys this season. With only four (4) out of fourteen (14) clubs participating in the South conference, they only claim one Championship for the South when the Jacksonville Axemen defeated the Boston 13s in 2012. While many expect the North to repeat Championships, the South are busy deepening their talent pools with future stars of the game.
Expect Jacksonville to bounce back from a forgettable year with sights on taking down Atlanta for Southern Champs but they may both be in for a surprise with Tampa looking to wreak havoc and sights set on winning it all.
Tampa will again look to build their club around former Pro-Rugby Union now League convert and playmaker (five-eight) Charlie Hutchings. Hutchings 22 who is in the process of applying for US citizenship, is coming into his third league season with Mayhem and expecting a breakthrough year. With one of the competition’s largest and quickest forward packs in Patrick Reive, Justin Branca & Josh Heath – Hutchings along with the rest of the Mayhem will also be well supported by prize imports in Jay Kissick, Nathan Chaplin and Hooker Ryan McGrath.
North-East – North Conference:
Clubs: Brooklyn Kings, Boston 13s, New York Knights, Rhode Island Rebellion, White Plains Wombats
The north-east division, only in its 2nd year competing alongside the Mid-Atlantic continues to grow in strength and may see a few upsets as the season plays out. Boston 13s will still be the team to beat but may lack the sizzle without import Liam Georgetown and 2015 Championship MVP. Gone are the Connecticut Wildcats only one season in the competition, replaced by newcomers the White Plains Wombats (New York) balancing out the same number of teams from last year. With White Plains and New York Knights both expecting to win games, a number of eyes will also be on Brooklyn Kings now entering their 3rd year as a club.
This season Brooklyn Kings have recruited well with a focus on fitness and coaching personnel.
While their player pool deepens, they continue to build around their core of American players in Shaniyat Chowdhury, Ralphy Mendez, Odain Brown and Dom DeFalco. Backed by new imports, Jake Henderson, Mitch Day, Jace Brown who recently featured for La Reole in the France Elite 1 Championship Final, the Kings will put forward an impressive challenge from the onset.
Mid-Atlantic – North Conference:
Teams: Bucks County Sharks, D.C. Slayers, Delaware Black Foxes, Northern Virginia Eagles Philadelphia Fight.
Philadelphia holds a firm grasp on the Mid-atlantic group with many expecting them to again challenge Boston for Northern Conference honors. Representing the largest player pool at last year’s World Cup Qualifiers in December, the Fight again have a number of players looking to impress selectors for the first international against Jamaica in Philadelphia on July 23rd. Mike Timpano, Mike Garvey and Fullback Roman Lowery and Rich Henson have a good shot to continue to represent the USA along with forwards Andrew Kneisly, Tristan Sylk and Zac Reichenbach all eyeing a spot on the Hawks.
They also welcome the return of Australian Rhys Bowdich now in his 3rd season with the Fight coming in an as exempt player. With new imports include Josh Vaartjes and Jesse Fogg from Dapto with Vaartjes a former Bulldogs Jnr also representing NSW country rugby league last year, the three time Champs Philadelphia will be hard to stop once again.
If you were ever going to catch a game of Rugby League… this is your year to make the effort!
The season kicks off june 4:
Sat, Jun 04
- 1:00 pm (H) Bucks County Sharks vs White Plains Wombats at Shark Park (Falls Township Park)
- 2:00 pm (H) D.C. Slayers vs Philadelphia Fight at Duke Ellington Field
- 4:00 pm (H) Northern Virginia Eagles vs Delaware Black at Foxes Grizzly Sports Complex, VA
- 6:00 pm (H) Central Florida Warriors vs Atlanta Rhinos at Spec Mart Stadium, Deland
- 7:00 pm (H) Boston 13s vs Rhode Island Rebellion Boston University Nickerson Field
Sun, Jun 05
6:00 pm (H) Brooklyn Kings vs New York Knights at Bushwick Inlet Park, Brooklyn.