By Romeo Monteith, Date: 2/6/13
Jamaicaâ€™s premier rugby league competition, The National Club Championship (NCC), gets into full swing with six teams; Vauxhall Vultures, Liguanea Dragons, JDF Warriors, GC Foster Lions, Spanish Town Vikings and Duhaney Park Red Sharks, taking part.
All will face each other in home and away clashes that will last over three and a half months. The top four sides will advance to the semi-finals on September 8, with the two winners playing in the Grand Final on September 14.
In the opening fixtures, Spanish Town visit Duhaney Park, Vauxhall host Liguanea and GC Foster entertain JDF.
Defending champions Vauxhall, coached by Keith Jackson, will be hard to beat this season despite losing veteran centre Andrew Fong who has retired. Leadership will come from Omar Jones, Carlyel Burger and Oniel McCalla while their powerful forwards, known as the Wolf Pack, are expected to wreak havoc .
Spanish Town is a young up and coming team and will be dangerous on the wings through speedsters Roxroy Allcott and Lemor Ellis. However, the strength of the squad lies in their ability to work as a unit.
Perennial finalists, Duhaney Park Red Sharks have recruited some exciting young players. Of note is Jerome Rose of Edith Dalton. Roy Calvert, though, is injured and the countryâ€™s most dominant prop Romaen â€œGullyâ€ Campbell will miss most if not all the season as he has committed to United States club Boston 13s for the summer.
The Liguanea Dragons finished bottom of the table last year despite putting in some good performances. They should be more competitive this year with Donovan Jackson, Shannon Harris and Brian Raymore the players to look out for.
GC Foster Lions were strong in 2012 beating Vauxhall Vultures in the round robin stage and making the semi-finals, where the Vultures got their revenge. Expect them to be just as strong this year with Ryan Grant, Marlando Anderson and Adrian Mckenzie hard to stop, all three being among the quickest players in the championship.
The Jamaica Defence Force Warriors is the dark horse. The army men have struggled over the last few seasons and for the first time missed the top four last year. There will be plenty effort from their forwards, especially Shaneal Brown and Orien â€œTruckâ€ Smith.