Friday, August 17, 2018

USARL Grand Final Set

By Elie Mpovie

The 21st overall season of rugby league in this great country of the United States started with 11 clubs, from May to July, clubs fought for the playoff spots and ten would qualify for the final series, now we've come down to the Final Four. This past weekend, we saw two clubs reach the pinnacle of the American game….the Grand Final.

We begin the Northern Conference Championship as top seeded Brooklyn Kings took on in state rival, the White Plains Wombats, both who are vying for a spot in their first ever Premiership Grand Final. The Kings, who are undefeated in 2018, didn’t have things all their own way though and didn’t seal the victory until they scored three tries in the final moments of the game. The Kings went over the whitewash six times with three coming by hooker Jerome Easthope, two to inside center Brandon Anderson and one to fullback Seimou Smith.

Brooklyn led 12-6 at the halfway point, but they could never cruise due to the Wombats coming at them throughout the match. Tries for White Plains came from Dave Griener, Matt Walsh and CJ Cortalano were the try-scorers. Player/coach Cortalano says while the defeat was heartbreaking, the season itself has been a success.

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“Every year we’ve gotten better. We got our first playoff win this year to double our playoff wins in total. We were within striking distance at one point, but Brooklyn’s been piecing this together for about five years. They played well, and they beat us.”
Full-time: Brooklyn 34, White Plains 18.

The Southern Conference saw another rendition of Atlanta v. Jacksonville, the Atlanta Rhinos who are the defending champions were eyeing a chance for back to back Premiership titles. But Jacksonville, who was at home as the Minor Premiers had other plans.

Jacksonville used their home field advantage to full strength as they scored eight tries to Atlanta’s four. Tries for the Axemen came from, Lachlan Bristow with three, Jed Pearce, Kevin Wathen, David Washington, Desty Bailey, and Tyler McClain. Atlanta’s tries came from, AJ Tacornal, Jordan Heine and two extra scores.

Atlanta came believing that Jacksonville would be under pressure. Here's what their captain said of this: “They’re a really good team this year and they showed it and unfortunately we kind of took a step backwards. When you’ve got a couple of imports who are good, solid players it really helps to run your offense through them. On defense they’ve got great discipline and it showed.”

So the USA Rugby League National Premiership Grand Final is set for August 25th as the clubs who shared the Minor Premiership will square off for the title. Brooklyn will travel to Jacksonville. The Axemen will hope to win their third Premiership and the Kings will hope to win their first title.

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