Both Sides Ready For Championship August 13th
The Jacksonville Axemen will be hosting the Tampa Mayhem for the USARL Championship game on August 13th. This will be the 8th Championship game the Axemen have played in during their 17 seasons, winning in 2010, 2012, and 2018. The Tampa Mayhem are the reigning 2021 Champions, after a narrow win over the Axemen in the semi-finals last year and a big win over the Delaware Black Foxes in the final.
The road to the final has been very much business as usual for the Axemen, who have finally recovered while many rugby league teams across the US are still rebuilding. “With the 2020 season canceled and last year having its own hiccups, we are back to operating smoothly,” says Drew Slover, the Axemen co-founder and general manager. “It’s been great to see the teams in the North getting some games in, and we hope to see them back to full speed in 2023. In the meantime, we are still here to win, and there is no better competition than the Mayhem.”
The Tampa Mayhem, who were founded in 2014 as part of the Southeastern Rugby League expansion, finally tasted victory last season and aren’t ready to let it go. They were able to defeat the Axemen for the first time in the playoffs last year and go on to win the USARL Championship. There’s been a lot of tension on the field between the two teams this season, and both match ups have been heated, close games (16-9, 36-26). The Mayhem are preparing for another postseason upset.
“As the reigning USARL Champions we look forward to running it back with Jax,” says Billy Neilson, co-owner and general manager of the Tampa Mayhem. We had 2 really tough games against them this year, but came out on the losing end of both. It’s like 2021 and deja vu all over again, we get to travel up to Jacksonville and do our jobs. Coach Dave Ulch has the boys prepared and we will give it our best.”
Axemen Coach Sean Rutgerson is pleased with the season so far but is cautious about the match against Tampa. “I’m glad we made it to the final undefeated with no injuries and it should be a good match up. Last year we were in the same scenario but I’m hoping we beat Tampa this time who have also been playing well. It’s always tough going against the defending Champions.”
The game will take place on Saturday August 13th at the University of North Florida. Kick off is 6:30pm. Tickets can be purchased at JaxAxe.com, and the game will also be streamed on the Jacksonville Axemen youtube channel starting at 6:30pm EST.