News Article


Philadelphia Fight  (14)  v. Warriors   (50)


Drama has marked the opening round of the American National Rugby League playoffs with a disqualification and red cards in the quarterfinals.

Perennial championship finalists Aston won their match but were then disqualified, while reigning champs New Haven had two players sent off.

The Bulls beat the Boston 13's 62-20 but then learned of their disqualification for having fielded an ineligible player.

That means it's the end of the road for Aston, a team that has been in every championship final since the league began 12 years ago.

The 13's, meantime, continue their remarkable run in their inaugural season and will travel to Jacksonville, FL, next week to take on the top seeded Axemen in the semifinals.

John Grace led the way for the Bulls with a hat-trick of tries and seven goals. Mike Brazill (2) again had a big influence on the game, as did Alejandro Valentin (2) and Conway Maraki (2).

'The league are sticking to their guns and there was no favoritism shown to us by David Niu [president], which is great for the league,' Aston head coach Marcus Vassilakopoulos told ARN. 'Good luck to all the teams for next week.'

In Saturday's other quarterfinal, the New Haven Warriors defeated the PBR Philadelphia Fight 50-14 at home in Connecticut, but had two players red carded. Ewan Robinson and Matt Callan were both sent off in the second half.

The Warriors will protest the red cards, however, if their appeal is rejected, it means they will be without both players for one week. New Haven is due to play the New York Knights in the other semifinal next Friday night in NYC.

New Haven got off to a slow start against Philly and had a try disallowed in the first quarter.

That gave the Fight an early psychological edge and they pounced to take a 4-0 lead, but from then on it was an uphill battle for the visitors.

Second-rower Keiki Misipeka was voted New Haven's MVP for his three-try effort on the day, while fullback Tony Sunia (2), Derek Roma (2) and Ed Reed helped nail down the win.

Player/coach Roy Leoni went 6-for-9 on conversions and then needed treatment for severe heat exhaustion.

'We've lifted our game for the playoffs and we're finding our form,' New Haven chairman Adam Hamon told ARN.

'We're looking forward to playing the Knights.'

New York Knights v New Haven Warriors
Jacksonville Axemen v Boston 13s

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