Welcome the 2016 Philadelphia Fight Imports, Jessie Fogg, Dylan Collie and Josh Vaartjes, pictured from left to right. They all come from the St. George/Illawarra area in New South Wales, Australia. Having been friends for the last couple of years, they bring the perfect combination of size and skill to the Philadelphia Fight.
“I’m very excited to be bringing these guys over for the 2016 USARL season,” states Captain/Coach Rich Henson. “The fact that they are all friends truly helps out the situation. They’ll be able to assimilate better into the club.”
Jessie started playing Rugby League at age 12, when he switched over from Soccer. At age 16, he represented Illawarra, and begun playing with his local club, the Dapto Canaries. He debuted in first grade at age 18, and was selected as future talent for the club. At age 20, Jesse received the most consistent player award. He’s been playing for Dapto with Josh Vaartjes ever since. The rangy Fogg plays in the backrow and can slot in at 5/8 when needed.
“It is such a surreal feeling and I have been counting down the weeks since last October,” states Fogg. “This has been something I have wanted to do ever since Rhys (Rhys Bowdich 2014 and 2015 member of the Philadelphia Fight, also from Dapto) went over there a couple of seasons ago. Can’t wait to put on the red and green and give as much to the Philadelphia Fight as I can!”
Jesse can’t wait for the opportunity to play with Josh and Dylan. He’s been able to play with Josh but not Dylan as of yet. “I went through school together with Josh, and have been playing footy alongside him since we were 16 years old. I have known Dylan since I was 18 years old and haven’t had the chance to play alongside him, but I have played against him on many occasions. They are both great blokes and I couldn’t be happier to be travelling and playing alongside them!”
Josh started playing Rugby League at age 12 as well. At age 15, he represented southern New South Wales. He also played Harold Matthew (U-16) and SG Ball (U-18) with the St. George Dragons, and Holden Cup (U-20) with the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs. Like Fogg, he also plays for the Dapto Canaries now. Last year, Josh was selected as a Country Rugby League Representative. ‘Choc’ as they call him, plays his footy exclusively in the front row.
“I cannot wait to get over to the States and meet my new teammates, and play some footy!” says Vaartjes. “Originally, just Jesse and I were planning on coming over, but when I spot opened up, I volunteered Dylan’s name. I’m happy that all he was able to come over as well!”
Dylan started at a young age at 6 years old. He played at West Illawarra Devils until the age of 19. During his tenure he won 5 Grand Finals with them. He also played Harold Matthew and SG Ball with the Illawarra Steelers, another St. George affiliate. The last two years, Dylan has been playing with the Berkeley Eagles, his local club. Dylan plays as a second rower, center and lock.
“I’m stoked to be traveling to Philadelphia to play Rugby League over the summer. I’ve heard good things about the club and their recent successes!” Says Collie.
The three will be arriving Mid-May, just enough time to get some training under their belts and be selected for round 1.
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