Rugby Is On The Rise Out West! Black Athletes Tackling New Frontiers

By Loren Broussard
Updated: January 17, 2005

Lenny Wilkens PHOENIX, Arizona– RUGBY LEAGUE comes to the western states’ The wild, wild west were the movement all begin, land of the Cowboys and Indians, Billy the Kid, the gold rush and the Grand Canyon all together better known as the new frontier. Now it’s the new frontier for rugby league in the United States. Phoenix, Arizona will house the headquarters for the western conference.

Phoenix has a talented core of rugby union and ex-rugby league players in the Maricopa county area. The Phoenix based team is very fortunate to have many ex-professional rugby league players to call Phoenix home. These ex-internationals will support and help the development of rugby league not only in Phoenix but across the western coast. The Phoenix based team, managed by Loren Broussard will have a squad to begin training in May. Loren is also a past Tomahawk winger.

He has been offered trials in the past by the Queensland Cowboys, Newcastle Knights and Gold Coast Seagulls.

His debut was the 1995 World 7s in Sydney.

He has played in the Emerging Nations cup tournament and man of the match in the 2000 USA v Canada match.

Recently, he had a short term contract with the Bracknell RUFC in London who plays in the national one division. Loren has worked to maintain exposure and awareness for rugby league in the west. Also out of the western conference is the Los Angeles Warriors (Los Angeles, CA.). They are managed by Freddie Lewis Jr. Freddie has had a trial with Parramatta Eels, played at Guildford Owls(Metropolitan Cup- Sydney) and negotiating to play in the new 2003 season with the London Skolars RL (UK) also played a pick up RL match on the east coast. He currently plays rugby union with El Paso Scorpions. The LA Warriors are trying to gain affiliation with the Auckland Warriors. The club is working to obtain sponsorship from local and international sources.

Another team developing from the west is the team from Salt Lake City, managed by Vea Ofa. Vea is a current Tomahawk wing. He has played union rugby for a number of years. No present nickname for the squad out of the Utah area, but numbers are growing for interested players. A canceled trial match in 2001 between the Arizona vs. Utah sides shows the quick interest from the local area players. Utah was considering bringing two teams to play the Arizona and LA combined side.

Vea has had some communications with the AMNRL headquarters as to keep them a breast of the build up on the western front. Other cities that are being considered for the upcoming season are San Francisco and San Diego. San Diego has the ex-USA international player, Mike Evergin. Mike has moved from Hawaii, based in the military, back to the mainland. Mike is keen to get rugby league developed and started in his local area.

Finally, the AMNRL west is looking for some alumni USA Patriot RL players; Duke Ireko, Lau Alfuamango, David Bowe, BC and Mike Dwyer. Hey fellas, keep intouch. With the traveling distance of the western cities, it makes for a difficult start-up summer season. There is much rugby union being played in the west and travel costs are difficult for many players. The eastern teams have a travel advantage due to the close proximity of their cities.

The west is working on various scheduling features to accommodate this obstacle. With a website on the internet and word of mouth spreading in the western states and the AMNRL receiving a number of player applications from interested west coast athletes, the western conference is sure to be ready for a full schedule and an east vs. west match similar to the state of origin in upcoming years. But as the old saying goes, the best is in the west.

Check WWW.AMNRL.COM for the national team dates Keeping checking here at BlackAthlete Sports Network for updates.

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