Origin of the Club

98

Originally known as the Philadelphia Bulldogs, the Philadelphia Fight began it's time in 1998. The early years saw moderate success for the club with 4 playoff appearances between 1998 and 2002, along with 2 Grand Final appearances but no championships to show. Eventually, players began going separate ways, forcing the club to take a brief hiatus.

Re-emergence of the Fight

07

2007 saw the re-emergence of The Fight in the AMNRL competition. With the likes of former USA Tomahawks players and friends, David Bowe and Ryan McGough, the club was rejuvenated and merged with another local club, the Delaware Valley Manta Rays. From there an LLC was established. Tony Rollz was brought on board as co-owner. The next piece of the puzzle was slotted in when Peter Illfield was named Chairman and head coach. However, the Fight failed to win a game in 2007 or 2008.

Building Slowly

09-10

2009 saw the first set of Australian imports (Ryan Douglas, Michael Kaufman and Mitch Heumiller.) Along with the core group of local players who toughed out the consecutive winless seasons, the squad managed to reach the post season for the first time. 2010 also saw moderate success. Another set of imports made the trip (Mike Princic, Nate Roach, James Perry and Nick O’Connor), and the club saw a second straight trip to the playoffs that would end in the semi-finals once more. This would prove to be the final season The Fight would play under the AMNRL banner.

First USARL Championship

11

The inaugural USARL season saw such Fight veteran players as James Coleman, Rich Henson, Dave Wilmore, Jared Frymoyer, Mike Timpano, and Patrick Quirk once again have their ranks bolstered by another group of imports (Joel Weeks, Matt Webster, Shawn Staunton, and the return of Douglas). The club squeaked into the playoffs, but managed a hard fought victory in the semifinals and again in their first Grand Final appearance in front of their home crowd, all in the midst of Hurricane Sandy bearing down on the Mid-Atlantic region

Hiccup

12

The 2012 season saw many hardships. First, they we displaced from their home playing grounds at A.A. Garthwaite Stadium in Conshohocken due to field renovations. Another blow came in the form of the import players absconding back to Australia mid-season suddenly the day before a pivotal match against arch rivals the Jacksonville Axemen. The Fight managed to limp into the playoffs in 2012, but saw their season end in the semifinals against the Boston 13s.

Rebound

13-14

2013 and 2014 were special seasons for the Fight. Webster and Weeks returned again, along with Ben Russell also from Down Under. Now with an outstanding group of local players who’ve been together for the better part of 6-7 years, the team was running on all cylinders. For a second consecutive year the Fight featured in the preseason International 9′s tournament final against the New Zealand Police, on tour from Auckland. Each time the Fight endured tough losses, but made them much better for the experience playing against such skillful competition. Another USARL championship was claimed for the Fight’s trophy case when all was said and done in 2013, once again in friendly confines of Garthwaite Stadium. The club earned redemption from their only loss of the season to the Jacksonville Axemen in Florida. 2014 was much the same. Import players Jackson Springer, Tom Dawney and Rhys Bowdich arrived in early May to assist the club in starting the season on the right foot, defeating former AMNRL rival Aston Bulls in the International 9′s tournament. The regular season saw the Fight finish with an unblemished record at the top of the table. The Grand Final was a rematch of the previous year, only this time it was held in the hostile North Florida heat and humidity in late August against the host, and also unbeaten Axemen. A first for rugby league in the USA, the championship was aired live on local tv in the Jacksonville area, which proves the advances the USARL has made in its short existence.