By John Davidson, (RLP RLWC Correspondent) Date: 15/11/13
The Tomahawks have enjoyed a fairytale run at this World Cup but all good things must come to an end.
For the plucky Americans that end will come at 3.00pm in Wrexham on Saturday against the Kangaroos. The USA weren’t tipped to win a game, let alone two plus an upset over France in the lead up to the tournament, hence the location of this match at the Glyndwr University Racehorse Stadium.
Wales were expected to cruise through the group to book a quarter-final against Australia, but the Yanks have crushed the party.
Belieing a poor preparation and the fact that they are the only team at the World Cup not being paid a wage – they changed coach twice weeks before the tournament started – the Tomahawks have been revelation. Thrown together at the last mixture, many simply amateur players, the USA side has surprised their more fancied opponents.
A feel-good story that just keeps on going, it is unfortunately destined to finish at the hands of the Aussies.
After scoring 112 points and conceding just 30 in three games, the Kangaroos mean business. They lost their World Cup crown in 2008 and desperately want it back. They should make short work of the Americans but the only hope is the brave Yanks are not embarrassed.
Several of the Tomahawk members will be familiar faces to the Kangaroos and their fans.
USA coach Terry Matterson is the assistant coach of the North Queensland Cowboys, where Jonathan Thurston, Brent Tate and James Tamou play. Tomahawk captain Joseph Paulo is a Parramatta teammate of Jarryd Hayne. Eddy Pettybourne is a former teammate of Robbie Farrah while Clint Newton, Junior Paulo and Matt Petersen have played against many of the Kangaroos during their NRL careers.
Several of the USA team were born and raised in Australia, like Craig Preistly, Matthew Shipway and Daniel Howard. Playing against the Kangaroos will be the highlight of their careers.
With Wrexham the locale, it is hard to judge what kind of crowd Saturday’s game will generate. Just over 8,000 turned up for the Wales vs USA match on November 3, but without the Dragons participating it could be lower than that. The Racehorse ground is an old stadium with a strong sporting heritage. Home to football club Wrexham FC, and the now defunct Crusaders from Super League, it is the fifth largest stadium in Wales.
Regardless of the crowd size, those who do turn out will be in for a treat. They will witness a bit of rugby league history and be part one of the most improbably World Cup stories of all time.
Australian team to take on USA
USA team to take on Australia