Jax v Tampa

Photo Credit: Allene Rachal

The Jacksonville Axemen are now the only undefeated team after four rounds of play in the USA Rugby League (USARL) South Conference.

The past national champions were on the road Saturday to face off against the defending champs Tampa Mayhem and went home with a 16-8 win under their belt.

Tampa led 8-0 at halftime behind a try by centre Josh Raqio, which was converted by five-eighth Peter Garlando, who also kicked a penalty goal later in the half.

The Axemen then hit their straps to dominate proceedings in the second forty.

Their tries were scored by hooker Mason McCrory, fullback David Washington and winger James Williams. Five-eighth Luke Findlay added the points after on two of them.

“Really good, grinding footy,” is how Axemen head coach Sean Rutgerson sums up the match.

“Lots of good contact and I’m looking forward to the next game against them at home.”

From Tampa’s perspective, again it was a tale of two halves as has been the case in previous games this season.

“It was a hard-fought game from both sides,” says Mayhem head coach David Ulch. “Each team started well and went back and forth, showing some defensive skill.

“We were able to punch a try through and get into the half 8-0. Second half, we had a difficult time getting the ball back and made a few mistakes on and off the ball that we need to improve on over the next several weeks as we look forward to the rematch up in Jacksonville.”

The result moved the Axemen to a 3-0 record, while it was the Mayhem’s first loss of the 2022 season and dropped them to 2-1.

The Southwest Florida Copperheads and South Florida Speed had byes.

In the women’s division, the Tampa Mischief flipped the tables by scoring a comprehensive 42-10 victory over the Jax Axe women’s team in the earlier game.

South Conference standings:

Jacksonville Axemen (3-0)

Tampa Mayhem (2-1)

SWF Copperheads (1-2)

South Florida Speed (0-3)

Brian Lowe
Brian is a strong and effective communicator with more than 30 years’ experience in broadcast and electronic media. He has been writing for Rugby League Planet since 2012 and is frequently the first reporter to break news stories about the sport. He has been our North American correspondent reporting on news in the US, Canada and Jamaica covering everything from league standings to strategy analysis to breaking news on key trades to editorials and colourful features on athletes. He is now writing about rugby league on a broader scale to cover developments around the globe. An accomplished storyteller, Brian started his career in Australian radio, before moving to the United States. He is an experienced podcast host and producer and is also a successful TV commentator having done play-by-play and analysis for ESPN, FOX Sports and the Rugby League European Federation (RLEF) among others.