Welcome rugby league fans to the first of many segments called "News of the Week." A round-up of all the various news stories surrounding the great game of rugby league in the Americas. From Argentina and Brazil to Jamaica and Honduras to The US and Canada, we will give you the TOP FIVE (5) stories you might have missed. So let's get to it. Here are the top stories for the week of March 31st, 2023.
The ORL Announces 2023 Season Schedule: The announcement of the ORL's 2023 season schedule is a highly anticipated event for rugby league fans. The ORL is a semi-professional league that consists of three teams: the Toronto City Saints, Brantford Broncos, and Brampton Beavers. The season is set to begin on April 16th, with each team playing three matches before the Grand Final on May 7th. This marks a significant moment for the ORL, as it will be the first time since before Covid that the league will conduct season play. Fans are eagerly anticipating the start of the season, as they look forward to seeing their favorite teams back in action.
The Battle of the Great Lakes: The Battle of the Great Lakes is a rugby league event taking place on Sat. April 1st. The event will feature two matches: Cleveland RL (Men) taking on the Toronto City Saints, and Cleveland Outlaws (Women) taking on the Ontario Ospreys. The men's match will begin at 6:30 pm, while the women's match, promoted as the Premier match, will start at 8:30 pm. The game is being held at Barea College, and admission is $10, with kids being able to attend for free. Fans are excited about the prospect of halftime rugby league action, featuring little leaguers. As of the publishing, only the Saints and the Ospreys have released their match-day squads, leaving fans wondering who will make up Cleveland RL and Cleveland Outlaws (Women).
Jamaica U14 and U16 High School Championships: The Jamaica U14 and U16 High School Championships are highly competitive and wrapped up on Thursday. In the U14 finals, Calabar High School became the first high school team to win five consecutive age-grade Championships. They achieved this feat with a narrow and hard-fought 18-14 victory over Cedar Grove Academy. The match was decided in overtime when Amare Anderson scored a breakaway try on Calabar’s first set of six. In the U16s, Campion College defeated Cedar Grove Academy with a final score of 8-4. Ehinome Ehikhametalor scored both tries for Campion and was named the Man of the Match. Special recognition goes out to Cedar Grove Academy, who not only won the U19 in November but also sent their U16 and U14 teams to the finals.
Peter Illfield Steps Down as USARL Inc. Chair: Peter Illfield has made the decision to step down as USARL Inc. Chair after 16 years of service in the US RL system. Illfield spent some time coaching the Philadelphia Fight to three National Championships before leading the governing body in the US However, his retirement has sparked debate and raised concerns about the state of the game in the US, particularly in terms of governance reform. The International Rugby League (IRL) has had to step in to assist with this, and there is no indication of who will serve as the interim Chairman of the governing body in the US.
Brazil’s Maria Graf Signs for Noosa Pirates on the Sunshine Coast: History was made in Brazil recently when Amazonas captain Maria Graf signed for the Noosa Pirates on the Sunshine Coast. Graf was a standout player for Brazil at the Women's RLWC in England and looks set to become the first South American player to play in the NRLW. This is a significant achievement for Graf and Brazilian rugby league as a whole, and fans are excited to see what she can bring to the Noosa Pirates. We all eagerly wait to see if Maria can break into the NRLW
Tune in next week for the latest latest write-up and report, and stay tuned-in to all the rugby league news on our social media channels.