Brooklyn Kings working hard on and off the field
The Wombats (third on the ladder) and Kings (fourth on the ladder) have both won three games and lost two, with a point differential of +50 and +26, respectively.
Only the top three teams of the Northeast division will qualify for the playoffs, with the New York Knights and Boston 13s currently sitting above both the Kings and Wombats on the ladder.
After being convincingly beaten 50-18 last weekend by the reigning premiers, Boston 13s, Kings’ coach, Brent Richardson, believes it was a good lesson for his players, who have been continually improving since joining the competition in 2014.
“Tough game with Boston who were too good on the day, it was a massive learning curve of what it takes to be one of the best teams after winning the previous 3,” Richardson said.
The loss to Boston temporarily dampened what has been an impressive season so far, with the Kings only loss before this being against the Knights in round one, which was only by two points.
Richardson believes this has resulted from improved fitness and that many players are now in their third year of Rugby League.
“We had a three month pre-season in which the first eight weeks focused heavily on aerobic fitness, which I think has really shown in our defense and ability to play 80 minutes.”
“New guys like Dane Wilcoxen and Matt Meida have really stood up in key positions for us as the learn the game.”
“First year recruits such as Odain Brown, Ralph Mendez and Shaniyat Chowdhury are now in their third year of league and really leading the team around,” Richardson said.
The Kings have also brought in three imports to their squad, being Mitch Day, Jake Henderson and Jace Brown, who have really added to their team dynamic.
Day has joined the Kings from the Mackai Cutters in Australia and is co-captaining the team with Ralph Mendez.
The Kings are working hard on and off the field to “become one of the premier Rugby League clubs in the USA,” with their players and staff of Richardson, Matt Bailey (CEO) and Nick Youngquest (coach) bringing in several new initiatives to help the club grow both in the short and long term.
Richardson clearly has the pedigree to be growing the sport, as his father, Shane Richardson, is the current General Manager of Football with the South Sydney Rabbitohs in the National Rugby League (NRL), as well as being the former Head of Strategy with the NRL.
“I'm proud of my son's [Brent] efforts helping develop Rugby League in the USA, it reminds me of when I first became an administrator and we were pioneers ourselves all working towards developing the game,” Shane Richardson said.
The Kings’ new initiatives include a trip to England at the season’s conclusion to train with teams in the home of the Super League competition as well as supporting the Sportl and Arts in Schools Foundation (SASF).
Through the SASF program the Kings were teaching kids in Park Slope, Brooklyn, about Rugby League and living a healthy, active lifestyle, later inviting them to join a Kings’ training session.
This program was the first Rugby League clinic in New York, which is an enormous achievement for both the club and the sport holistically, which is another sign of the vision of the Kings as well as their impact on their community, setting a benchmark for other clubs to follow.
Their next clash is today, away against the White Plain Wombats at SUNY Purchase College, kicking off at 3:30pm.