A semi-final exit in last year’s post-season has left the Slayers with a firm goal for the 2012 season.
By most standards, the D.C. Slayers had a successful 2011 campaign. Losing standout Anthony Elghossain to injury in just the first game of the season was more than a stunning blow. However, it gave the Slayers even more motivation and eventually helped power them to a league-best 7 – 1 record, the best performance in the team’s history.
They met their match in the second round of the playoffs, getting edged out by the Philadelphia Fight at their home Duke Ellington Stadium in D.C. Why the end result was disappointing, it did set a goal for building a 2012 team that even would be even more successful for the D.C. football club.
The return of Elghossain is just one of the many roster additions that have the Slayers staff and fans enthusiastic for their second USARL season. The club expects great things from three new international players all with strong rugby league backgrounds.
Ben Webber, having been around the sport since 16, has long awaited the opportunity to play in the states. From the same town of Danny Buderus, Webber hopes to follow in the footsteps of his “biggest playing influence.” “(Buderus) just showed me how he presents himself on and off the field is how I want to be with his tough training and playing perspective, and polite and respective way off the field which is something I strive to be” Webber said.
Nick Watson, another 2012 Slayers import, hopes his experience will help push the club into the Grand Final. “As I have been playing League my whole life I have developed a good football brain and understanding of the Game,” Webber explained. “I’m enthusiastic, and have had the opportunity to play under several coaches and clubs and hopefully provide some insight into what I have been taught in Australia”
Last but not least is Martyn Nicoll who most recently took the pitch for National Conference League Division One’s first place Oulton Raiders. Nicoll, a proven winner and international representative having played for Scotland’s A squad versus Ireland and Wales in 2011, can’t wait to take the field for the D.C. Slayers.
Among the Slayers returning from the 2011 season are center Young Woo, back Phil Hill, second row Andrew Payne and wing/full back Jamal Malani. The club did lose Tim Douglas, last year’s team captain, who has returned home to Oz to deploy to Afghanistan with the Australian army. Fortunately, Douglas’ younger brother Nick will be joining the Slayers team. Another addition is Jeff Perkins who played for the Boston 13’s in the 2011 season. Other notable players lost include Ron Hinds, Aaron Cook and Troy Smith. A final loss is Joe Pantok who left the club to form the Baltimore Blues. Pantok was inspired to do so after hearing that his mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. The Slayers will meet the Blues in Baltimore on June 30th in what will surely be an emotional reunion.
The Slayers begin their regular season on June 2nd against the Jacksonville Axmen. Like last year, all regular season home games will take place at the Duke Ellington Stadium.
For contact information, please visit the Slayers official website, www.dc-slayers.com