Pacesetters Setting Themselves Apart

The Brooklyn Kings, Philadelphia Fight and Jacksonville Axemen have stamped their authority on their respective conferences in the latest round of games in the USARL national clubs competition.
Pacesetters Setting Themselves Apart

The Kings remain unbeaten at the top of the standings in the NORTH Conference after posting a 52-18 win against the White Plains Wombats in Saturday’s all-New York showdown.

On a hot day, it was all tied up at 6-6 through the first quarter, but Brooklyn’s left center Brandon Anderson with three tries and fullback Semiou Smith with a brace, along with second-rower Nick Briggs all led the charge as the Kings eventually wore down the opposition.

Makeshift goalkicker Jerome Easthope added the extras.

“It was really tight early,” said Brooklyn head coach Brent Richardson. “I think it was probably more the back end of the first half and the first twenty of the second half when we sort of rolled over the top.”

“That should put us in a position where we finish in the top two for the playoffs and get that first week off.”

The Wombats’ try-scorers included Thomas Stevenson, Matt Walsh and George Reis.

In separate news, Brooklyn’s Marcus Satavu has been forced to retire from the game altogether because of a serious knee injury.

Satavu, who is in the USA Hawks train-on squad, originally picked up the knock last season a week before he was due to play for the North All-Stars and hasn’t completely recovered.

The other unbeaten team in the North, Philadelphia Fight, also posted a win to stay undefeated by downing the Boston 13s 50-6.

Man-of-the-Match Brian Madden spearheaded Philly’s efforts with two tries, while Dave Hockenberry, Brian Kealey, Kyle Denham, Tristan Sylk, Jared Frymoyer, John Rizzuto and Nick Martino all chimed in with singles.

“Winning this game gave us at least one home playoff game which is really good for our confidence,” said Fight player/coach Rich Henson.

“We’re really happy with our defense because we’ve worked on it and it’s our biggest thing.”

Elsewhere in the conference, the Northern Virginia Eagles scored their first win of the season with a 44-28 victory over the New York Knights.

“Total collective failure,” is how Knights head coach Guillaume Cieutat summed up his team’s performance.

“We traveled without a handful of regular first graders and lost two key players in the first ten minutes, but there was room to win. Good on NOVA for their courage and superior desire to win, they taught us a lesson in civility.”

Meantime in the SOUTH Conference, the first-placed Jacksonville Axemen kept their undefeated record intact with a one-sided 90-4 thumping of the Copperheads.

To use an old cliché, the Axemen scored early and often en route to the big win in their 2018 home opener.

Winger David Washington was the subject of his own highlights reel with five tries on the evening as Jacksonville racked up a total of 15 tries in the game.

Halfback Lachlan Bristow again was in the thick of things scoring tries and kicking goals, while also getting in on the try-scoring action in the first half were Washington, Hunter Lawson, captain Jon Purnell, Steven Hill and Tyler McClain.

The Copperheads didn’t give up though and were rewarded for their efforts with a converted try of their own to make it a 36-4 scoreline and consequently avoided the shutout.

However, the avalanche of Jacksonville tries continued in the second half with more scores by David Thomas, Alex Eberle, Bristow, Jed Pearce, Washington and Kris Townsel.

“The Copperheads kept trying their best, they’re a new club and I hope that they stick with it because they are improving,” said Jacksonville head coach Sean Rutgerson.

“It was wet and slippery, so we controlled the ball really well.”

It’s the second biggest win in the Axemen’s history. Their highest winning margin was 96-8 against the Fight back in 2007.

In the other game in the South, the Tampa Mayhem were impressive in their 46-24 win against the defending champion Atlanta Rhinos.

The Mayhem scored first and didn’t look back. Joel Armstrong, Will Monnery, Bart Longchamp and JL Hauser all dotted down to give the home team a 22-0 lead.

Atlanta finally got on the board when winger Terrance Williams scored in the corner just before halftime. The conversion was good from the touchline to make it 22-6 at the main break.

Rhinos’ veterans Nick Newlin and Hiko Malu didn’t make the trip. As the second half got underway, the teams traded scores following sloppy play on both sides of the ball.

The Mayhem scooped up a loose ball close in and winger Jon St John took it in for a try, however, Atlanta hit right back with their second converted try to close the gap to 28-12.

St John went in again a short time later when he refused to be tackled and the successful points after made the score 34-12.

Hauser got his second try just before the scheduled water break when he too barreled his way into the try zone dragging a couple of defenders with him. Monnery’s extras increased Tampa’s lead to 40-12.

A professional foul by Tampa saw the referee bin the Mayhem offender and award a penalty try to Atlanta to make it 40-18.

Late in the game a series of Tampa penalties gave Atlanta a glut of possession as they worked their way back into the Mayhem’s red zone but couldn’t turn it into points and Tampa made them pay when Justin Branca forced his way over the try line following a bullocking run down the touchline.

Monnery’s extras were good to push the scoreline out to 46-18, but the Rhinos got the final try of the game to make the full-time score 46-24.

“We let them get into our heads in the last seven minutes and having that sin-bin kind of added more fuel to the fire for them and put us on our back foot, but we were able to rectify it in the last couple of minutes,” said Mayhem player/coach David Ulch.

“Our defensive side was awesome; our line speed was right on and our marker play was set so it was nice to see that through the whole game.”

All teams will have a bye this coming weekend for the July 4th holiday. The competition will resume on Saturday, July 14.

Brooklyn Kings 52-18 White Plains Wombats
Philadelphia Fight 50-6 Boston 13s
NOVA Eagles 44-28 New York Knights
Tampa Mayhem 46-24 Atlanta Rhinos
Jacksonville Axemen 90-4 Copperheads