Jacksonville Axemen Rugby League

Game Report: Round 7

The Dr. Clayman Plastic Surgery Center Jacksonville Axemen finished the regular season undefeated in an epic battle of willpower against the Orlando Orthopedic Central Florida Warriors. The Axemen went into the weekend without 6 of their regular starting squad due to injury and other obligations. This forced the team to have several reserve grade players step up to the task. With high temps and matching humidity the Axemen players were pressed to endure a brutal 80 minute battle.

The game began with the Axemen scoring first with a try from Josh Cock, but Keeley uncharacteristically missed the conversion kick to bring the Axemen up 4-0. The Axemen then held an impressive defensive line for several sets but the Warriors eventually broke the line and took the lead with a 4-6 score. The second quarter started off rough for the Axemen, with an intercepted pass by former Axemen Josh Jackson who sprinted in the try for the Warriors bringing the score to 4-12. The Axemen kept up the fight, and managed to regain the lead before the half with two tries scored by Jon “Schmee” Defau and Kevin Wathen to led 16-12 going into half time.

Just when the match couldn’t seem tougher for the Axemen, two players were unable to return into the second half due to injury and the interchange was reduced.. Regardless, Jacksonville pushed harder and scored first in the 3rd quarter to lead 20-12. The second half was extremely tough and the Warriors managed to score twice on Axemen penalties. First with 6 points and finally the Warriors kicked the ball through the goal posts for 2 points to tie the score to 20-20 early into the 4th quarter.

The Axemen came very close to scoring several times, even crossing the try line twice, but the head referee called no try. Never giving up, Jacksonville pushed on and finally Breon Bryant scored his first ever try for the Axemen to regain the lead at 26-20 with only 9 minutes left in the game. Consequently, the Warriors managed to slip past the defense for a long run and a try under the posts and the game was again tied. As the clocked ticked down in the final minutes the Axemen defense held the Warriors close to their own try line when the Warriors were called offsides and the Axemen regained the ball. Coach Mat Keeley set up for a penalty kick 15 yards from the posts and time ran out. A composed Mat Keeley was successful with the kick and the Axemen won the game 28-26.

The three top players named for Round 7 are as follows:

Mike Scott with 1 Point: “It’s not often you ask your younger players to lead from the front but given we were short on the weekend Mike Scott stood up and did exactly that,” says Coach Mat Keeley. “He just keeps getting better each game and is a real asset to our team”.

Kevin Wathen with 2 Points: “Kevin was a standout in that first half; he wasn’t afraid to do the tough stuff and then got rewarded with a memorable try. He is fitter, stronger and more determined than I’ve ever seen him. He has had a great season thus far and if we are going to win this weekend we need him to fire.”

Will “Rat” Mueller with 3 points and MVP: “Will’s performance today blew me away. I think at times he thought he was 250 pounds and 6.5ft. He was involved in everything and as a coach it was pleasing to see him do things that we have worked on at training”.

This weekend the Axemen will play the Tampa Mayhem in the SERL semi-final playoff game at 3PM at Hodges Stadium. Please note the time change to allow fans to attend the Jaguars Mega Event. Thanks to Lyndsey R. Webb for the photo.