It was a thrilling weekend of Rugby League action across North America, as teams battled it out on the field, showcasing their skills and hoping to cement their place as leaders in their respective conferences. From Rugby League British Columbia (RLBC) in Canada to the Pacific Coast Rugby League (PCRL) in California, and all the way down to the USARL in the Southeast, and the North Atlantic of the RLU, the matches provided fans with intense competition and memorable moments. Let's delve into the highlights of each league and relive the excitement that unfolded.
Rugby League British Columbia (RLBC):
The RLBC matches kicked off with a highly anticipated clash between the Vancouver Valley Vipers and the defending RLBC champions, Point Grey Thunder. The Vipers, currently in second place, proved their mettle by securing a convincing 32-14 victory over the Thunder. The Man of the Match accolade went to Loose Forward Ethan Ohlmann, whose stellar performance included 10 carries, 1 line break, 1 offload, and a try. Ohlmann also showcased his defensive prowess with an impressive tally of 21 tackles.
In the other RLBC matchup, the Valley Warriors, previously winless, surprised everyone by taking an early 18-point lead against the league leaders, the Whistler Wolves. Despite a spirited comeback by the Wolves led by hooker Neil Irwin, the Warriors held their ground and emerged victorious with a 38-20 upset win. Although the Wolves suffered a loss, they maintained their position at the top of the league table on point difference, tied with the Vancouver Valley Vipers. The Thunder, Dragons, and Warriors are all tied for 3rd with 4 points each (Dragons got 2 pts for their bye week) and are only separated by points difference.
Pacific Coast Rugby League (PCRL):
Traversing down the North American coast, the Santa Rosa Dead Pelicans made a formidable journey to Los Angeles to face off against the Mongrel in PCRL action. Despite the extensive travel, the Dead Pelicans displayed unwavering determination, triumphing over a depleted Mongrel side missing key players due to injury. The final score of 60-6 showcased the dominance of the Santa Rosa team. With their second consecutive win, the Dead Pelicans claimed the top spot in the PCRL standings.
The upcoming Magic Weekend, scheduled for July 1st in Fresno, California, promises exciting matchups. The undefeated Dead Pelicans are set to clash with the second-place Barracudas, while the Bandidos and their cross-town rivals the Mongrel, vie for the City of Angels bragging rights in their highly anticipated encounter.
Heading across the country to the US Southeast, the USARL league witnessed the Atlanta Rhinos hosting the winless Copperheads. Due to travel issues, the Copperheads arrived with a severely depleted squad, and the Rhinos capitalized on their advantage to secure a resounding 88-16 victory. While the scoring prowess of the Rhinos was on display, the highlight of the weekend for the USARL South was the thrilling men's and women's doubleheader in Tampa, where the Mayhem and Mischief hosted the Jacksonville Axemen and Axewomen.
The women's match between the Mischief and Axewomen lived up to its reputation as an intense showdown. The Mischief emerged triumphant with a 48-28 victory, led by Captain Robyn Oliveri, who scored an impressive 16 points. Rachel Bradley and Mijjar Rashel were recognized as co-women of the match for their outstanding contributions.
In the highly anticipated men's match, a rematch of last year's national championship, the Mayhem and Axemen battled fiercely. After a tightly contested first half, the Mayhem showcased their dominance, limiting the Axemen to a solitary converted try. The second half saw the Mayhem's relentless offensive display, resulting in a comprehensive 42-14 victory. Rookie Jayden Jeanes emerged as the top scorer with 18 points, while Joe Eichner and Sione Talisa were named co-men-of-the-match.
With their perfect 3-0 record, the Tampa Mayhem sit comfortably atop the USARL table. The Jacksonville Axemen and Atlanta Rhinos both possess a 1-1 record, while the Copperheads are still seeking their first win. A highly anticipated matchup between the Axemen and Rhinos in Atlanta awaits fans in Round 4.
Rugby League United (RLU):
Finally, we journey up the Atlantic Coast to the RLU, where the DC Cavalry faced off against the Black Foxes in a thrilling encounter. Led by Captain Ryan Burroughs, the Cavalry exhibited a masterclass in offense, scoring 50 points while keeping the Foxes from registering a single point. Nick Lengyel was the linchpin in the offensive attack not only scoring multiple tries himself but was outstanding on the day converting kicks. The final score of 50-0 highlighted the Cavalry's dominant performance.
In the second RLU match, the Boston 13s traveled to Brooklyn to take on the Kings. Boston traveled well and put in a strong performance coming out strong and able to make good movement in open play. Brooklyn who had a difficult time completing their sets for the first 1/4 of the match, was able to rebound from a 10-point deficit to take a 14-10 lead at the half. Trading tries left and right from the get-go in the second stanza, the Thirteens clawed back to take a 26-22 lead with 17 min to play. Brooklyn's strong defense stopped Boston from adding to the lead. After a quick play out from dummy half to score with four minutes to play, the Kings managed to rally and secure a hard-fought 34-26 victory, capitalizing on a late surge. With this win, the Kings maintained their perfect record, while Boston suffered their second defeat.
Looking ahead, a thrilling clash awaits fans on July 8th, as the undefeated Cavalry (2-0) and Kings (2-0) battle for the top spot. Additionally, the Foxes will travel to Boston, with both teams eager to secure their first win of the season.