THE sixth annual 'battle of Saint Patrick's day' took place at the new venue for Ruby League of Savannah, Georgia on the eve of St Patrick's day.
Savannah has a tradition of holding a huge St Patrick's day parade, often attracting 400,000 spectators, and associated events, so it was a 'natural fit' for the annual match between USA and Ireland to be moved to the city.
The game was somewhat hastily organised when foxsports asked that it be played this year after an original proposal was made for the city to host the game next year by local organiser David Cox, who is also responsible for forming a new organisation named 'Georgia Rugby League', and has plans to launch a competition in Georgia.
The game attracted a crowd of 2000 very rowdy and appreciative fans, almost all of whom were new to the game. The new fans commented on the big hits and toughness of the game, but were most impressed by the speed and frequency of action, one fan commenting "I don't know how these guys hang in there. It looks like roughhousing. You can't really tell unless you're using your binoculars that they're rubbing their faces in the ground. They're pretty rough out there."
The Tomahawks showed the benefit of their recent trip to Australia in winning the game. Convert from college American football, Nate Smith, in only his 5th game of Rugby League, the other four being on the Australian tour, scored two tries and was a standout player in the game. One of his tries saw the big prop burst through the line and sprint 45 metres to score. The Americans blew the scoreline out by scoring three times in the last 10 minutes, demonstrating the fitness they have gained by playing games such as a trial against the Canberra Raiders in recent weeks.
The Irish took this game seriously after losing the last two in a row, and they held a selection match some weeks ago between Irish based and English based players so as to bring the best possible amatuer squad. It seems they may have to look at professional players next time if they hope to overcome the rapidly improving Tomahawks.
The tally now stands at 4 games to 2 in favour of the Tomahawks after six 'battles of Saint Patrick's day', with the Tomahawks having won the last three in a row. The scoreline margin in this game was the biggest ever in the series.
LONDON will make the trip to the KC Stadium this weekend to meet a team which has found good form.
IN Bulls Eye this week, Brian Noble and skipper Robbie Paul look ahead to Sunday's Tetley's Super League Round 3 clash at the McAlpine when the Bulls take on the Giants.
HEAD Coach Mike Gregory has named the following side for Friday's Tetley's Super League game against Leeds Rhinos at Headingley, 8pm kick off.
FORMER Bulldogs football manager Garry Hughes claimed he had done nothing to justify being sacked by the National Rugby League club.
HOT on the heels of Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy re-signing with the National Rugby League club earlier this week, several of the Storm?s young guns, including Queensland hooker Cameron Smith, have re-signed today.
THE Penrith Panthers have stormed home to beat the Canberra Raiders 34-18 at Canberra Stadium.
THE Sydney Roosters tonight showed their depth and class as they put away a spirited Manly side 42-20, in front of a packed Brookvale Oval.
ST George Illawarra Dragons have come away from New Zealand with an enterprising 16-10 victory over a shocked Warriors' outfit.
NEW Zealand Warriors rugby league prop Iafeta Paleaaesina has gone from KFC to skinless chicken and rice, but put on about 5kg in the off-season.
ST George-Illawarra have recruited a leadership consultant in a desperate bid to shed their image as the National Rugby League's (NRL) most enigmatic team.
AFTER another controversial week off the field which saw Willie Mason fined $10000. The Bulldogs reaffirmed their status as one of this years teams to beat with a come from behind 24-20 victory over the Cronulla Sharks this evening at the Sydney Showground.
THE fallout from the Bulldogs sex scandal has begun, with the club?s football manager Garry Hughes shown the door last night.
ST George Illawarra skipper Trent Barrett has been unable to join Dragons' team mates who flew out to New Zealand today. The Test five eighth has reportedly been held back by a knee injury and has effectively withdrawn from the side.
ST George Illawarra chief executive Peter Doust confirmed Gasnier would miss Sunday's clash with the New Zealand Warriors because his preparation had been "severely affected".