Game Preview Round 1: Axemen vs Mayhem
The Jacksonville Axemen open the 2014 season this weekend when they travel across the state to take on the newly founded Tampa Mayhem. The Axemen have been training hard since training camp, but several players are unavailable to play this weekend due to the Collegiate Rugby National Championships. This means there are roster spots to fill, and coach Mat Keeley has plenty of options. “I’ve been really impressed with the progress of all players in such a short space of time,” says Keeley. “We have a great mix of talent this year with each player fighting for that starting jersey.”
One player who has made the roster and will make his rugby league debut is 18 year old Mike Scott. “Four weeks ago he had never played rugby but he worked hard and has earned his spot on the team,” says Keeley. ”He is definitely a player to watch in the future.” Of course there are plenty of veteran players taking leadership roles with the team as well, including a fan favorite. “Jonathan Defau will lead the Axemen as captain for the first time in his career. The man they call ‘Schmee’ is built like a fridge yet moves like a kangaroo.” Keeley is also looking forward to taking the field with newest import player to wear the Axemen jersey. “I’m really excited about seeing Joey Bobbin in action. A fullback weighing in at 210 pounds will no doubt test the defense and impress a few fans this season.”
The match up this weekend will be intense to say the least. The Tampa Mayhem, although newly founded, come from an area where rugby union has been extremely successful with the Tampa Krewe, and many players are crossing over to rugby league for the summer season. The Jacksonville Axemen plan to continue their high level of play and are focused on getting to the top of the conference quickly. “There are only 6 rounds until the playoffs so every game counts in order to cement a home playoff game,” says Keeley. “I’m confident that the team we have will get the job done against Tampa.”
The Axemen are hoping to see the “CHOP ZONE” make it to Tampa as well, and Axemen fans never disappoint! If you’d like to make the game this weekend gates open at 4:30, game time 5pm at Larry Sanders Progress Village Sports Complex, 5855 S 78th St Tampa, FL 33619. Chop Zone Season tickets get you in to away games as well!