Brooklyn sees Jacksonville as legit obstacle to being crowned Kings
It will be the Kings’ first appearance in a national title decider.
The club, which was established in 2014, has been the pacesetter in the NORTH Conference all season long having beaten all comers and then clinching its first ever NORTH championship earlier this month.
Brooklyn got to the conference championship game last year but stumbled at the final hurdle in falling to the New York Knights.
That defeat has been the catalyst for a retooled focus during the 2018 season, and one that so far at least has proven to be the impetus for the team’s successful form.
One of the Kings’ players who has been there from day one is prop forward Ralph Mendez. He was introduced to rugby league only five years ago after playing rugby union at Fairfield University in Connecticut.
Prior to that, he spent his youth playing baseball and basketball, but says playing for the USARL national championship this weekend is by far and away the icing on the cake.
“Last year’s loss was so hard on us as we’d worked so hard all year long, but this year feels really good. I think we have a really good chance of winning it all.”
The prop says while the Kings haven’t seen a lot of video on the Axemen, they are aware of the abilities of hooker Lachlan Bristow in particular and that Jacksonville in general has a big pack.
And he says because of that; Brooklyn’s defense will have to be on point.
Mendez says the extra week off in between the conference finals and the championship game has enabled the squad to get over some niggling injuries.
“Everyone’s been healing up just fine and we’ve been practicing so hard lately. Everyone’s feeling good and confident about this weekend.”
Mendez is also full of praise specifically for the Kings’ backline.
“They’re the best set of backs the team has had in the last five years. It’s been amazing to play with some of these guys we have on our team.”
The national championship game will be played at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville this Saturday, August 25, 2018 with a scheduled kickoff time of 7pm EDT.
If you can’t make it to the game, it will be streamed live on the Facebook page of iknowjax.com