Game Report: Round 1
The Jacksonville Axemen came out victorious in the first game of the 2014 season versus the Tampa Mayhem. As expected, the Mayhem brought a tough team and held the Axemen scoreless for the first 10 minutes of the game. Once the boys got their footing however, they began the attack, and were up 12-0 in the first quarter, 30-0 by the half, and 42-0 at the end of the 3rd quarter. Axemen Coach Mat Keeley was pleased with the team’s performance. “Tampa had a big pack and we weathered the storm, but what impressed me the most was our defense. There were a couple of crucial sets in the first half where Tampa could have crossed but the boys dug deep and held them out.” The Axemen held the Mayhem until late the 4th quarter when Tampa Coach Daniel Payne scored with the conversion, making the final score 42-6.
Coach Keeley, who was perfect with his conversion kicks last weekend, has chosen a point system for naming his top 3 players of each game. For Round 1, Keeley designated one point to winger Dan Morcom, who had one of the best games of his career. “In the second quarter Morcom put the game beyond doubt when he danced with the sideline to score one of the more spectacular tries you will see in Rugby League. Dan was involved in everything, he made great yards around the ruck and showed that he is not a player you want to take on in a foot race.”
With two points is Max “Camel” Schwartz, who set the tone from the opening whistle by taking two hit ups in the first set. “Prior to the game, I told Camel I needed him to lead by example and take us forward,” says Keeley. “He simply replied with a grin and said ‘I’ll do whatever you need me to Coach’.” Schwartz finished the game leading the hit count and was the only forward to play the full 80 minutes.
Designated three points and named MVP for the game is import player Josh Cock, who was outstanding in both attack and defense for the Axemen. Josh was instrumental in a number of tries and scored a brilliant individual try himself. “I’d heard he was tough but he is amongst some of the toughest I’ve played alongside,” says Keeley. “His commitment to each tackle was what impressed me the most and when our forwards were tired he simply rolled up his sleeves and took the ball forward, as a coach what more can you ask.”
The Axemen are one win closer to gaining a home playoff game, but Coach Keeley knows they have work to do if they want to continue to be successful this year. “We have a few key areas to work on but we are better for the run and now turn our focus to Atlanta in two weeks.” The Axemen travel for Round 2 on June 14th to take on the Atlanta Rhinos. Game time is 2pm at Silverback Stadium. For more info and full schedule go to www.jaxaxe.com.
*Photo taken by Angie Pachcinski