Jacksonville Axemen Rugby League

Atlantic Cup returns to Jacksonville for the third straight year

The 2011 Rugby League Atlantic Cup will be contested between the USA, Australia and the United Kingdom from November 19 through 26 at Hodges Stadium at the University of North Florida. Games dates are 19, 23 and 26 and full details on times and associated events will be released soon.

The Axemen will be doing all they can to show the visiting teams just how popular Rugby League has become in Jacksonville and to help encourage big crowds walk up tickets will remain at $5 with kids 12 and under admitted free. Concessions will be kept at very reasonable prices and event T-shirts will be on sale for just $10.

Three Game Tournament Tickets will also be on offer for pre-purchase for just $10 and details about on-line sales will come very soon.

The Axemen are extremely excited to be able to represent the USA in this years tournament and after a three year period the seen them in two National Championship game, winning the National Championship in 2010, lose only one home game, be minor premiers twice and have incredible fan and sponsor support, they are looking forward to the opportunity to be the team playing for the United States.

They are equally excited to have the teams from two of the worlds powerhouse Rugby League nations visit Jacksonville to challenge for the cup.

Australia will be represented by the Helensburgh Tigers who are a team that competes in the Illawarra Rugby League Competition just South of Sydney. The Helensburgh Tigers also reached their competitions Grand Final game in 2011 and were narrowly defeated on September 11. They regularly supply a number of players to the National Rugby League (NRL) that is the top level professional competition in the World.

The Tigers also have close ties to the Axemen by way of three import players having played for the Jacksonville team since 2008. Shawn Murray who was the Axemen best forward in the 2008 season came from the Helensburgh team and returned to them after the season in the USA. Current Axemen Captain Brent Shorten who has spent the last 4 seasons with the Axemen and Center Bryce Collins are also former Helensburgh players and both have played alongside Murray in Australia. The fact that Murray will be pulling on the Tigers Jersey while Shorten and Collins will take the field as Axemen will add to the drama of the tournament. “To have the team that has supplied three of our import players visit us is incredible”, said Spinner Howland. “Shawn Murray was a tough second rower who was a stand out during our 2008 season and it is going to be great to see him lead his home team against their former teammates and a number of guys he played with while at the Axemen. I personally am excited to finally have the Tigers come and experience Jacksonville.”

The UK will be represented by their National Police Team, who boast a number of professional players and will come into the Atlantic Cup as the favorites. The UK National Police Team is made up of current police officers from across the UK and many of them have played or are current members of professional or semi professional teams.

Steve Brown is their Captain, he is a former BARLA under 23, England and Great Britain Student International, He is the brother of Kevin Brown the Current England International and Huddersfield Giants player. Steve Captained the British Police during the 2008 World Cup in Australia and to Skanska Cup success in 2009 when the British Police defeated the British Students in the final.

Jason Southwell is their vice captain, Jason has played Super League for the Huddersfield Giants and with Featherstone Rovers and Dewsbury Rams.

Alex Clemie will be their fullback, Alex was also a Great Britain Student international and he has played professionally with Batley Bulldogs and Rochdale.

Paul Hughes will be their man in the middle at Hooker, and has played for the Wakefield Wildcats, Hunslet, York and Dewsbury as a professional.