Jacksonville’s Washington Wary of Brooklyn’s Strike Power
By Brian Lowe Photos By Allene Rachal
The 121 Financial Jacksonville Axemen and Brooklyn Kings are getting set to face off in the USA Rugby League’s national championship game this weekend and both teams are tweaking their defensive strategies in an effort to shut down the opposition’s potent attack.
Both teams are unbeaten this season having run the table in their respective conferences and then dominating their playoff games to date.
Jacksonville is the #1 ranked offense in the league with the best points differential of any team in either the NORTH or SOUTH Conference, while Brooklyn checks in at #2 with a slightly lesser differential.
The explosive offensive capabilities of each are not lost on the other, hence the focus on stiffening up their defense.
One of Jacksonville’s leading try-scorers in 2018 is left winger David Washington. His name has regularly appeared on the scoresheet throughout the season, with the winger often notching two and three tries in a game.
Remarkably, this is only his third season playing rugby league having joined the Axemen in 2016.
Prior to that, Washington was a rugby union player at the University of North Florida. He made the code switch after graduation. Before that he played football and baseball at high school, and then intramural sports at UNF.
This will be his second USARL national championship game as the Axemen’s last grand final appearance was in his rookie season in 2016.
“Playing in the national championship is really exciting,” says Washington.
“Not many people get the chance to play in a national championship in many sports and to be able to appear this year is a testament to all the hard work our team put in this year to be at this stage in the season.”
Washington says his teammates are acutely aware of the Kings’ ability to score, quickly and from anywhere on the field, meaning the Axemen know they can’t afford to relax for the entire 80 minutes.
“Brooklyn has a really strong team,” he says.
“They also went 6-0 this season, they also put in the work to get to this stage in the season. So, we have to prepare for anything from Brooklyn and work as a team to gain control.
“Anything can decide the outcome to this weekend’s game and I’m certain both teams will be coming out to perform at their best to represent their division and their fans.”
The national championship game is set to be played at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville this Saturday, August 25, with a scheduled kickoff time of 7pm EDT. Purchase tickets by clicking on the TICKETS tab above.
If you can’t make it to the game, it will be streamed live on the Facebook page of iknowjax.com.