Axemen Begin 18th Season
Nearly 20 years ago when Drew Slover started the Jacksonville Axemen with his business partner Daryl “Spinner” Howland, he couldn’t fathom the team would continue on for 2 decades. Now the team is about to begin it’s 18th season, and the Jacksonville Axemen are now the oldest active rugby league team in the United States. Coming off a National Championship win in 2022, the Axemen are set up for another successful season.
“I’m excited about the upcoming season,” says Slover. “We are excited about defending our title and will work to bring another one home to Jacksonville. It’s great to have Atlanta back in the USARL, and we look forward to playing them this season. The National Championship is even more exciting this year, with the winner from the USARL playing the winner from Pacific Coast Rugby League (PCRL). This is the first time rugby league from both coasts of the US will compete for a coast to coast National Title.”
The National Championship game will take place on August 26th, with the USARL winner hosting PCRL at home. This puts the pressure on the team to make sure this game takes place in Jacksonville.
The Jacksonville Axemen and Jacksonville Women’s Rugby League start training on May 2nd, and the annual training camp will take place May 5th, 6th, and 7th. Coach Sean Rutgerson is in his 7th consecutive year coaching the team, and have the team back together to put in the work.
“I’m looking forward to this season,” says Rutgerson. “I’m hoping we can back up our performance from last year and go back to back. I have a lot of defensive goals we need to achieve this year, and I plan of the team and players to keep developing and improve together. It will be good to have Ryan Bannerot back on the team after a year off, and I look forward to see how he will play this season.”
Jacksonville Women’s Rugby League is now in their 3rd season and the Jacksonville Axemen organization is committed to providing a space to grow the women’s game. “The Women’s National team has been making strides over the past year, and with international games in the works, it’s important we provide an environment where they can develop as players,” says Drew Slover.
The women’s schedule is still in the works, but all women’s home games are included in Season Ticket packages. Season Tickets will go on sale this week, featuring a new Axemen item just for Premier “Axe Mania” members. Stay tuned for Season Tickets announcement on the Jacksonville Axemen website and social media.