By: Daryl Spinner Howland, Date: 29/8/12
Within 24 hours of the Firehouse Subs Jacksonville Axemen winning the USA Rugby League National Championship, the Jacksonville Jaguars (NFL) reached out to invite the Rugby team to be recognized publicly at this Thursday’s NFL preseason game in Jacksonville. The Axemen have been asked to take the field during the 1st quarter when the Jaguars take on the Atlanta Falcons, to be congratulated in front of the Jaguars fans on winning their 2nd National Championship in 3 years.
The Jaguars have had a long history of supporting the Axemen, and Rugby League in general, over the last seven years. “The Jags have been an incredible supporter of the Axemen since day one”, said Spinner Howland. “They came to our rescue in our early seasons when we needed an alternate place to hold a training camp scrimmage by offering their practice venue. That support has continued in a variety of way ever since.”
The Jaguars have also hosted a great number of International Rugby League teams who have visited Jacksonville for games and training camps over the years. The Leeds Rhinos (UK) had extensive sports business meetings to swap ideas with the Jaguars during their stay in 2008 for the Australia Day Challenge. The South Sydney Rabbitohs also visited the Jaguars and their facility during that event.
“The Jags have been huge for all our overseas teams and players”, said Howland. “The UK alone has had the Leeds Rhinos, Salford City Reds, UK Police Team, Halifax Blue Sox and Huddersfield Giants, all visit their facility at one time or another. These are top level sporting organizations in their own right in the UK and the Jags have welcomed them every time they visit the USA. The Jaguars have truly opened their arms to the teams and athletes of the “Football” code that thrives overseas. They are incredible ambassadors for the City of Jacksonville.”
The Axemen would also like to encourage all Rugby League fans in the UK to start getting behind the Jaguars and adopt them as their favorite NFL team.
“UK Rugby League fans can return the support the Jaguars have show our sport and many UK teams by getting behind the Jags,” said Axemen co-owner Drew Slover. “With the Jaguars now confirmed to play one game a year in London
(UK) for the next four years, it would mean a lot to them and the City of Jacksonville to have a good local fan base in the UK to help support them during those trips.”
Spinner Howland also commented on the great opportunity the games in London present to the UK fans. “Rugby League has always had a culture of taking care of our own and helping those who support us and our game and this is a great opportunity for Rugby League fans to show the Jags that we are thankful for their help by growing our game on an international level. They are helping grow the game in the USA by directly helping and recognizing the Axemen, and also by hosting and sharing with the overseas teams that visit Jacksonville. That makes them one our own.”
The Axemen are also encouraging all their fans to attend the Jaguars game this Thursday night and be apart of the celebration when YOUR Jacksonville Axemen go onto the field at Everbank Field and be congratulated by YOUR Jacksonville Jaguars. The game starts at 6.30 pm and the Axemen will take the field sometime during the 1st quarter.