With the holiday bye weekend behind them, The Eagles used this extra week for practice and game planning in order to prep for their rematch vs the Rhode Island Rebellion.
The matchup on 6/28 was a great one for both sides and the 48-40 final score showed a win is something that can be achieved with two drives to the try zone.
As the 2014 season has reached midway, the Eagles have come up against stiff competition so far but was to be expected when joining the USARL. The jump to the USARL was one the Eagles made with confidence and with continued support from the League and other teams, the Eagles hope to grow into the future just as the core teams have done over the past years. They’re looking to improve their record, starting with equalizing the winnings tally vs the Rebellion on 7/12. Heading up to Rhode Island for a true away game is one the Eagles are looking forward to. The localization of the previous matches between the Slayers and the Blues are appreciated, but the excitement of the road trip has the Eagles pumped for their rematch.
For this Eagles trip, they’ll be traveling with an extremely strong squad, one they’ve taken the first few months of the season to build. The team that entered the USARL this season, with a few returning players has developed into a stronger squad in many ways. Improvements with Eagles game play has been lead by two experienced Aussies who joined the Eagles for the 2014 season, Jacob Cobbin and Michael Baker. These two have dedicated their summer to the Eagles and their knowledge of rugby league has made a statement with the entire team, especially those new to the sport. Jacob and Mikey both join the Eagles from the Moranbah Miners, last winning the A Grade Premiership in 2009-2010. Jacob started playing footy at the age of 4, a Queensland Native who played junior and senior football with the Middlemount Panthers and Central Queensland.
“The Eagles have proved to be a team with open arms, welcoming not only our experience but our leadership on and off the field. The team has a dedicated group of players, backed by a group of board members who’ve proven their commitment to the team.” Mikey also played junior and senior ball, with the Central Highlands and Queensland Capras. "We’ve come over to support the sport of rugby league in the states, but specifically support the Eagles as they continue to grow as a club. The Eagles are forming that core group of players to move the team and the game forward in the Northern Virginia area. The hard work at training and all out attitude during games is showing the Eagles are making strides in the right direction.” The Eagles look forward to their continued help on and off the field, building an Eagles nation in Northern Virginia.
In addition to the former Eagles returning for the season and the two imports making their mark with the team, The Eagles have turned some Union players from the Blue Ridge Raiders into League fans. The speed of the game and the cardio aspect of rugby league seems to draw them out. Trying to persuade them to join a league team instead of running summer 7′s seemed to be a road block the Eagles faced prior to this season. “Being a Union player originally myself, I enjoy being able to work with those players and get them used to the game. When I got the call from Steve Grant years ago to move down to Virginia from NY and play with the team, then Fairfax Eagles, it was a move I was nervous to make but thankful I did it. I enjoy being able to teach players now like Steve did for me. It’s almost like a continued tradition to promote the game of rugby league in the states,” says Vice President Christian Seaman. After trading players for Fall and Spring Union Ball, the Raiders are starting to make their presence on the field. One stand out crossover player the Eagles have continuously brought out is Chris Frazier. Chris has proven himself on the field game after game, completing sets and scoring tries. “I enjoy the teamwork, work ethic and time that everyone puts into the Eagles. I have played 3 seasons of league and I have played 9 years of union. They have great aspects of each but league pushes you a bit harder when it comes to fitness. It’s a faster game and it is fun.” The Eagles look forward to the continued crossover that Chris has brought forth from the Raiders, pulling more guys each week is becoming beneficial to the Eagles roster.
Not new to the USARL but new to the Eagles, Roman Pritt has made his statement from the beginning. Coming up to Northern Virginia from playing Arena Football in Richmond, Virginia, Roman’s place on the field with the Eagles has been noted by many and he’s made a true impact on the team. Standing 6’3″ 330lbs, he’s been the Eagles goal line performer throughout the season. In any situation where a few yard push is all the Eagles need, Roman’s been there and succeeded. His talent is also reflected on defense making some phenomenal tackles that any new player on the team looks to model. “It feels good to be back playing Rugby League. Taking some time off to pursue football once again was a good break but putting my focus into League seems to be a better fit. Between practices, training and games with the Eagles, I look to improve my game and hopefully one day be playing for the US Team.” Roman’s past experience playing League and his natural presence on and off the field has been one the Eagles have come to enjoy and appreciate. “He’s what I would consider a gentle giant. On the field he’s intimidating, he’s powerful and he’s commanding. Not only do we enjoy Roman’s taken on the field but his personality is one that shows there and off the field as well. There’s someone else the new guys can look up to, literally,” says Eagles President, Phil Dorn.
The Eagles are excited for the remainder of the season. With just three games to go, the Eagles are hoping to pull out a few more wins. With tough competition ahead at Rhode Island and Baltimore, then home hosting the Fight, the Eagles plan to continue building a strong squad and roughing it out right through the end.