Jacksonville Axemen Rugby League

Game Report: Round 3

It was a battle last Saturday for the 121 Financial Jacksonville Axemen, when they hosted the Tampa Mayhem at UNF for Round 3 of the regular season competition.

With thunderstorms looming in the distance, the Axemen held the ball on Tampa’s side for most of the first half, and came very close to scoring several times. Tries were finally scored out wide both times by David Washington and Dan Morcom, and import Sam Dickey was good for both conversion kicks bringing the score to 12-0 going into the halftime break.

The second half was very much Tampa’s game, and they managed to close the gap with two quick tries giving the Axemen only a two point lead. The pressure was on for both teams Tampa managed another try without the conversion, giving themselves the 2 point lead at 14-12. The clock ticked down and the Axemen fought to regain the lead but the Mayhem tacked on a converted try bringing the score to 20-12 with just minutes left.

Unwilling to give up, the Axemen scored a final try and the conversion was good as the clock ran out. It was too little too late however, and Tampa persevered over Jacksonville by a mere two points at 20-18. This was the first loss in a regular season game for the Axemen since 2008.

“In a mistake riddled game we got to 12-0 even though we weren’t playing very well,” said Coach Sean Rutgerson. “In the second half we saw Tampa control the ball better than us and they came back to beat us. It’s very disappointing to give up a 12 point lead, and disappointing that they beat us through the middle just by doing the simple things like finishing their sets with a good kick. We’ll have to turn it around this week and get up for a big game against Atlanta, who have not lost a game yet but it’s theirs for the taking. I am happy with our team’s effort, we just need to execute better.”

Axemen Co-Founder and General Manager Drew Slover is discontented with the loss but has faith in the program the team has in place. “Of course we don’t like to lose, especially at home, it’s something we certainly aren’t used to,” said Slover. “But don’t count the Axemen out yet. We hadn’t lost a regular season game in nearly a decade for a reason, and we have confidence in our coaches, players, and the system that is in place. This is just a challenge to overcome on our way back to the top.”

The Jacksonville Axemen are home again this Saturday June 24th against the undefeated Atlanta Rhinos. Kick off is 5:30pm at the UNF Soccer Field.

Photo Credit: Allene Rachal