As Round 8 comes to a close, we see a clearer picture of the finals format and certain teams playing for bragging rights.
The Jacksonville Axemen look set to win the Minor Premiership as they take on the struggling New Haven that will be eager to put this season behind him. By most accounts New Haven have had a difficult year and early losses to key player personal have forced them to dig deep and recruit quickly.
As for the Axemen, they have secured home field for the playoffs for the fourth year in a row. Their 54 to 22 win over the Rhode Island Rebellion last weekend secured the August 11th game to be held at Hodges Stadium at UNF.
“It is always a great feeling to have a home playoff”, said Co-Owner Spinner Howland, “but this is also delivering on a promise we make to our fans, our sponsors and the city of Jacksonville. The extra game for the fans to enjoy, the extra exposure our sponsors get, and the heightened interest in our sport nationally and internationally helps expose the City of Jacksonville.”
The Axemen must now wait for the outcome of this weekend’s game of DC Slayers vs Oneida FC to determine who will be making the trip to face them as they continue the push to the August 25 National Championship game in Boston. The in-form Slayers should have little trouble disposing of Oneida that have struggled week-to-week and with only two victories to their season.
Up north we see a preview of the other semi-final match-up with the Boston 13s playing at home to last year’s champs, the Philadelphia Fight. While the Fight have all but secured home field advantage, Boston will be quick to remind them that they could easily be sitting in second place and would like to have the upper hand when they meet back in Philadelphia two weeks later.
The Fight are keen to have points scoring machine Chase Mason back on deck as a “pining for the fjords” saw him drop off and miss last weeks encounter against the Warriors. Equally welcomed is Aussie Joel Weeks who has quickly settled into his familiar role of halfback with the sudden departure of Captain Johnny Webber. The game takes place on Sat July 28 – 3pm at M.I.T Steinbrenner Stadium, Boston.
In remaining games the Rhode Island Rebellion will look to end 2012 on a winning note as their season comes to a disappointing end failing to make the play-offs since joining the USARL. Hoping for a glimmer from their northern brethern, the Rebellion will be ruing several games earlier in the season where they couldn’t get the job done and have been fighting for points ever since.