All-Star Squads Prepare for Annual Clash
Now that the USA Rugby League national clubs championship is in the books for 2018, all eyes turn to the annual NORTH versus SOUTH All-Star game.
Both conferences have chosen their squads, each featuring players from all teams in the USARL competition.
With six players each, the Brooklyn Kings and Philadelphia Fight dominate the NORTH after finishing #1 and #2 respectively in the conference standings, while conference championship finalists the White Plains Wombats have the next highest number of players with four.
NORTH head coach Brent Richardson says after scouting many games during the regular season, he and his assistants have picked what they feel is a competitive squad.
“We’ve been pretty transparent from the start of the conference’s competition this year on our selection process giving everybody the opportunity to be a part of the All Stars squad. This side really rewards some really good individual efforts, but also some really strong performing teams this year as well.”
One notable omission from the NORTH squad is New York Knights forward Josh Rice, however, it is not related to his form. Rice has moved back to his native Hawaii where he hopes to help to kick-start a revived Hawaiian Conference.
The original Pacific Conference had its origins as part of an expansion by the previous national governing body the American National Rugby League (AMNRL).
The 2018 national champion Jacksonville Axemen and Tampa Mayhem, with six each, have the most players on the SOUTH squad followed closely by the Southwest Florida Copperheads with five and four for the Atlanta Rhinos.
SOUTH head coach Sean Rutgerson says the game is meant to showcase the best of America’s domestic rugby league talent.
“We’re trying to get a State of Origin sort of thing happening. What Brent and I need to see is these players up against each other in a better environment. The best of our boys up against the best of theirs and they need to be under pressure so we can see how they perform.”
Rutgerson and Richardson will team up to coach the USA Hawks when they compete against Canada, Jamaica and Chile in the 2021 Rugby League World Cup Americas region qualifying series in November.
Last year’s All-Star game, which had been scheduled to be played in Tampa, had to be cancelled due to Hurricane Irma which swept across parts of Florida.
NORTH All-Star squad:
Brandon Anderson (Brooklyn Kings)
Shaniyat Chowdhury (Brooklyn Kings)
CJ Cortalano (White Plains Wombats)
Kyle Denham (Philadelphia Fight)
Mike Elias (Boston 13s)
Alex Foster (New York Knights)
Chris Frazier (NOVA Eagles)
Jared Frymoyer (Philadelphia Fight)
Dave Greiner (White Plains Wombats)
Rich Henson (Philadelphia Fight)
Andrew Kneisly (Philadelphia Fight)
Brian Madden (Philadelphia Fight)
Ralph Mendez (Brooklyn Kings)
Randy Porter (New York Knights)
George Reis (White Plains Wombats)
Jay Robinson (Brooklyn Kings)
Karim Singleton (New York Knights)
Seimou Smith (Brooklyn Kings)
Tristan Sylk (Philadelphia Fight)
Matt Walsh (White Plains Wombats)
Chris Wiggins (Delaware Black Foxes)
Dane Wilcoxen (Brooklyn Kings)
Coach: Brent Richardson
SOUTH All-Star squad:
Tim Ashmun (Southwest Florida Copperheads)
Cody Blackwell (Tampa Mayhem)
Justin Branca (Tampa Mayhem)
Irving Carcamo (Atlanta Rhinos)
Roderigus Ceasar (Southwest Florida Copperheads)
Curtis Goddard (Southwest Florida Copperheads)
Kyle Grinold (Jacksonville Axemen)
Khalial Harris (Jacksonville Axemen)
Jethro Hauser (Tampa Mayhem)
Josh Heath (Tampa Mayhem)
Jordan Heine (Atlanta Rhinos)
Sean Hunt (Atlanta Rhinos)
Jude Kermundu (Southwest Florida Copperheads)
Steven Knight (Unattached)
Bart Longchamp (Tampa Mayhem)
Tyler McClain (Jacksonville Axemen)
Nick Newlin (Atlanta Rhinos)
Jason Paul Jr (Atlanta Rhinos)
Mike Stoeling (Tampa Mayhem)
David Thomas (Jacksonville Axemen)
David Washington (Jacksonville Axemen)
Kevin Wathen (Jacksonville Axemen)
Sterling Wynn (Southwest Florida Copperheads)
Coach: Sean Rutgerson
2018 USARL All-Star game:
Sunday, September 9
Kickoff 11am EDT
AA Garthwaite Stadium, Conshohocken, PA