As the kickoff to the USARL 2017 season is only one week away, the Philadelphia Fight would like to present this two part series to review the magical 2016 season and preview the 2017 season. Here is Part 2 – 2017 Fight Season Preview
It’s no secret that the Philadelphia Fight have been the most successful USA based Rugby League Club since the inception of the USARL 6 years ago. In that time, they’ve been to 4 of the 6 USARL Grand Finals, winning them all. One of the main reasons the Fight continue to stay ahead of the competition is that they have consistently been able to keep their core players in tact through that period.
Not returning to the Fight in 2017 are Fight American-born stalwarts Jared Frymoyer (season ending injury in preseason) and Casey Clark (signed with UK-based club Underbank Rovers). Additionally, The Fight will feel the loss of 2016 imports Jesse Fogg and Josh Vaartjes and exempt players Rhys Bowdich and Joel Weeks.
This season, Fight fans will still be able to witness USARL Hawks Mike Timpano, Rich Henson, Andrew Kneisly and Roman Lowery don the Fight colors, but fans will also begin to see the emergence of new younger talent coming through the Fight ranks. Winger Brian Madden had a breakout year in 2016 and is looking to improve on his form. Newly appointed hooker Mike Gentile, who played most of his footy in the outside backs in previous seasons, will be a delight for fans to watch. Look for the addition of Second Rower Nick Martino, who only played half a season with the Fight in 2016, to bring a new brand of physicality to the game.
The Fight will also be bolstered by two European import players, English second rower George Wood and Frenchmen center Yoann Reynauld. The big-framed Wood will help replace some of the size and skill the Fight lost with the departure of the 2016 Import players. The elusive Reynauld will add pace and creativity to an already impressive backline.
As with last year, The Fight will also be putting on the 2nd Annual Clash with Cancer. Last year, the Fight were able to raise over $8,000 for The Andrew McDonough B+ Foundation. This year, the Fight are hoping to raise even more! The Fight will partner once again with B+ Foundation. The Clash with Cancer will be held on July 8th. Stay tuned in to the Fight’s social media for more information!
The Fight begin their season on Sunday June 4th against the Brooklyn Kings and their first home match is June 17 against the NOVA Eagles. Come out early and often to the home matches and support your Fight’s bid for its Fifth Grand Final!!
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