USA Hawks name World Cup Nines train-on squad
EIGHT players involved in the USARL championship final have been included in coach Sean Rutgerson’s squad for the World Cup Nines in Sydney.
Brooklyn Kings beat Jacksonville Axemen 12-6 on August 24 at Floyd Bennett Field to take out the 2019 USARL title. Less than two months later, many of the stars of the decider are in line to be jetting to Australia for the first ever nine-a-side World Cup, to be held at the new $360 million Bankwest Stadium.
Of the three Jacksonville and five Brooklyn players, one - prop Brock Davies - has not represented the United States before. He tried out for the New England Patriots in 2017.
“He’s a friend of Charlie Jones,” said Rutgerson, also the boss at the Axemen.
The US shares a ‘group of death’ with Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea for the event, to be held on October 18 and 19.
Cronulla Sharks rookie Ronaldo Mulitalo and the son of North Sydney legend Greg Florimo are also among the debutants in the Hawks’ squad.
Rutgerson, a former North Sydney team-mate of Florimo’s, has 29-year-old Jay from Central Coast club The Entrance in the 20-man preliminary squad.
Mulitalo, 19, qualifies via his American Samoan background; he was raised in New Zealand.
“Jay’s mother was born on a US army base in Germany to an American father,” Rutgerson explains.
“I tried to get in contact with him last year, was unsuccessful but was told when I took over that he was eligible.
“He actually finally got back to me on Facebook Messenger recently and I got him to send all his stuff.”
Florimo played Nines for the CanAm Grizzlies in 2016 and would have played in the 13-a-side World Cup the following year but for a broken ankle.
Junior Vaivai, nephew of actor and wrestler Dwyane ‘The Rock’ Johnson, Hull’s Bureta sFaraimo and 137-game NRL player Eddy Pettybourne are also in the USA squad, as is former Toronto Wolfpack utility Ryan Burroughs who recently switched to rugby union.
The World Cup Nines represents an all-important second property - after the World Cup - for the Rugby League International Federation.
The Hawks are the reigning Americas Nines champions after taking out the inaugural staging of that tournament in Toronto earlier this year.
David Washington (Jacksonville)
Charlie Jones (Jacksonville)
Khalial Harris (Jacksonville)
Brandon Anderson (Brooklyn)
Jamil Robinson (Brooklyn)
Marcus Satavu (Brooklyn)
Conner Donehue (Brooklyn)
Ryan Burroughs (Nova)
Bureta Faraimo (Hull)
Cory Makelim (Sheffield)
Danny Howard (Wentworthville)
Jerome Veve (Souths Logan)
Kristian freed (Wests Mitchelton)
Jay Florimo (The Entrance)
Eddy Pettybourne (Central Queensland)
Joe Eichner (Northern Pride)
Mark Offerdahl (Goondawindi)
Junior Vaivai (Toulouse)
Ronaldo Mulitalo (Cronulla)
Brock Davies (Brooklyn)