Brooklyn out to become Kings of the NORTH
When we caught up with the Brooklyn Kings in 2016 we learned that the team was improving their fitness, first year recruits were bolstering the sides potential and the team visited school kids in Brooklyn to promote healthy lifestyles.
Come 2017 the Kings are in their fourth USARL competition and the news is as positive as ever. The Kings have finished third in the northeast division in the last two seasons and qualified for the playoffs, but expectations are higher in 2017.
Kings and Norths All Stars coach, Brent Richardson, and Kings Founder, Matt Bailey, both echoed the same sentiment, being that improvements in 2017 will be a result of the strong team culture that the side has been building upon each year.
Richardson knows that the bond of his players will on benefit the on-field results, saying “If you were to ask any of our long term players what being a part of the Brooklyn Kings means to them it won't take long for the word 'family' to be used. The Kings are just as much a family as we are a rugby league team, people see that and want to be involved.”
Their squad has increased from from 24 to 32 players and partnerships with the Kings’ brand has grown once again, seeing Essentia Water and BLK apparel joining as well as Sixpoint, Kent Ale House and the Nicole Fitzsimons Foundation returning for their fourth consecutive year as partners.
The Kings held their season launch on May 15 where 180 people turned up and the event was sold out.
All of these signs are a symbol of the long term goals that the Kings are striving for, with a key goal being that US based players get the best chance to improve and hopefully achieve representative honours.
Matt Bailey highlighted that several players could push for selection in the All-stars game later this year and possibly even for the USARL Hawks.
“Dane Wilcoxen (front row), Dom Defalco (five eighth), Nate Epstein and Matt Almeida (Center) made the biggest improvements in 2016. Marcus Satavu, Ty Elkins, Shaniyat Chowdhury, Wesley Haughton, Odain Brown and Ralph Mendez will be just some of the players to compete for All-Stars and Hawks selection this year, with Elkins and Satavu both trialling with Toronto Wolfpack last year,” Bailey stated.
The Kings will need all their players starting the season in strong form as they will start the season against the 2016 Champions, the Philadelphia Fight, which will be followed up by the 2015 Champions, the Boston 13s, and then the local clash against New York Knights which is always important on the team’s calendar.
“It’s a short competition so every game is important, but the first two against Philly and Boston are the toughest, even more so given it's super important for us to kick off on the right foot,” Bailey said.
For those wanting to watch the Brooklyn Kings’ first game against the Fight, it will be played at Bushwick Inlet Park, Brooklyn at 6:30pm on the 4th of June.
USARL wishes the Brooklyn Kings the best of luck for the 2017 season and congratulates them on their continued improvements on and off the field.
Photos courtesy of Davey Wilson