Jacksonville Axemen Rugby League

The Jacksonville Axemen traveled to Atlanta last Saturday for game 2 against the Rhinos. The Axemen were coming off a tough 34-30 win on the road over the Tampa Mayhem, while the Rhinos took a 58-10 beating from the South Florida Copperheads.

First Half

Historically, the Axemen tend to have a slow start to the game when traveling to Atlanta, and this game was no exception. With the Axemen kicking off to Atlanta, the Rhinos quickly found a hole in the defense and scored a try up the right side in the first minute of the game. The conversion was good and the Rhinos started off with a 6-0 lead over the Axemen.

The Axemen were able to respond with a try from Mason McCrory, but the kick was no good and the Axemen continued to trail the Rhinos 6-4. The Rhinos, who presented a much different roster from the previous week were determined to get more points on the board were successful with another 6 points. The teams went in to the 20 min water break with the Rhinos up 12-4.

After the break the Axemen scored with a try by Vashon Marrs, and the conversion was good by Mason McCrory. The Axemen closed the gap to 12-10. Jacksonville was unable to build on that momentum, however, and the allowed the Rhinos to score again, to extend their lead to 18-10.

The game got a bit chippy between the two teams at points, but the Axemen were able to hold their composure long enough to score one more try by Edson Jean-Baptiste. The conversion was no good and the Axemen went into half time still trailing the Rhinos 18-14.

Second Half

After regrouping at the half, the Axemen were set to receive the kick. Finally able to even the score, Trevor James had a big run through the defense to put 4 more points on the board. Ryan Bannerot followed up with a try of his own, and with both of McCrory’s conversions good, the Axemen took the lead at 26-18.

The work wasn’t over for Jacksonville, however, and Atlanta continued to be a problem for the Axemen. They scored 2 back to back tries, and one conversion to take back the lead by 2 points. The score was now 28-26. Axemen Trevor James was given a yellow card and the team was down to 12 players on the field with 15 min to go.

Jacksonville was finally able to take some control and finished out the game with another try each by Edson Jean-Baptiste and Ryan Bannerot. Mason McCrory was good for both conversions. The Axemen closed out the game without allowing another Rhino try and the final score was 38-28.

Although he Axemen secured the win, there is some streamlining the team hopes to get sorted out before the home opener this weekend. “I am happy with the win after a poor start and a long drive to Atlanta,” said Axemen coach Sean Rutgerson. “We got a chance to see some new guys play and they did well. We just need to keep working on getting better every week.”

The Axemen return home on June 15th for the home opener. Both the men’s and women’s teams will play in a double header against the Tampa Mayhem and the Tampa Mischief. Women kick off at 5pm, men at 7pm. Get your tickets here.

Photo by: Mary with GArugbyphotos