Kings Punch Ticket for Grand Final

The Brooklyn Kings have punched their ticket to the USA Rugby League 2018 championship game with a hard-fought 34-18 win against the White Plains Wombats in the NORTH Conference final Saturday in New York.
Kings Punch Ticket for Grand Final

The Kings, who are still undefeated in 2018, didn’t have things all their own way though and didn’t seal the victory until they scored three quickfire tries late in the game.

It was a tight match going into the final stretch when White Plains picked up some injuries and gave away a series of penalties that backed them up, enabling Brooklyn to run in those last few tries and ice the result.

In all, the Kings scored six tries – three by hooker Jerome Easthope, two to left center Brandon Anderson and one to fullback Seimou Smith.

Brooklyn led narrowly 12-6 at the main break, but they could never relax because the Wombats kept coming at them throughout the match.

Kings head coach Brent Richardson says the game wasn’t over with just six or seven minutes left because White Plains was knocking on the door so it was definitely a satisfying result.

“A real goal of ours after losing this game last year was to come back and build a side that could win this conference final and the national title as well. It was pleasing because after going undefeated I think we would’ve felt a little bit down if we hadn’t at least gone this far. It’s very exciting for the team.”

For the Wombats, Dave Greiner, Matt Walsh and CJ Cortalano were the try-scorers. Player/coach Cortalano says while the loss was disappointing, the season itself has been a success.

“Every year we’ve gotten better. We got our first playoff win this year to double our playoff wins in total. We were within striking distance at one point, but Brooklyn’s been piecing this together for about five years. They played well, and they beat us.”

Cortalano says he hopes to be selected to play for the USA Hawks in the Rugby League World Cup Americas region qualifiers later this year, but that will probably be it for his playing days.

In between now and then there’s the NORTH versus SOUTH All Star game that he’s also looking to take part in.

Beyond that, he says provided White Plains want him back next year to coach, he plans to carry on in that capacity in 2019.

The Kings will square off against the SOUTH Conference champion Jacksonville Axemen for the 2018 USARL national championship in Jacksonville, FL, on Saturday, August 25.