|Full name||Jacksonville Axemen
|Nickname(s)||Axemen / Jax Axe|
|Competition||USA Rugby League|
|Premierships||2 (1 AMNRL, 1 USARL) (2010, 2012)|
|Runners-up||1 (AMNRL) (2009, 2013)|
|Minor premiership||3 (1 AMNRL, 2 USARL) (2009, 2011, 2012)|
The Jacksonville Axemen are a semi-professional rugby league team based in Jacksonville, Florida, U.S. They currently play in the USA Rugby League (USARL). They play their home games at Hodges Stadium at the University of North Florida.
Together with the New Haven Warriors, the Axemen were founded in 2006 as an expansion team of the American National Rugby League (AMNRL). Since their inception they have become one of the most successful rugby football clubs in the United States both on and off the field. They advanced to the AMNRL playoffs in 2006, 2008, and 2009, and won the 2010 AMNRL Championship. The side currently holds the record for the largest margin of victory (96–8) in the league's history. In 2011 they became one of seven team to depart the AMNRL to form the new USARL, which kicked off in June of that year.
They are one of the most successful teams in America both in on-field and off-field operations, making it to the finals in four of their five years of play. Their team for 2009 includes former National Rugby League player Sean Rutgerson and former international player Daryl Howland. They are also the first Rugby League team in the USA to stream all their home games live on the internet in an effort expose the sport in the USA to the rest of the world via the World Wide Web. They often appear on local television and radio shows and are supported by the local media community in Jacksonville.
The club was founded for the 2006 American National Rugby League season by Drew Slover and current American international Daryl Howland after the state of Florida (where both individuals resided) had no representation in the top level rugby league competition in the USA. After becoming the first AMNRL club to come from the southern state the Axemen had an impressive debut season finishing in the top six and qualifying for the playoffs; however they would eventually be knocked out by the New Jersey Sharks. The Axemen have made the playoffs in the AMNRL 4 of their five years of operations, with two trips to the title game and one national championship title.
The Jacksonville Axemen hosted the teams of the Australia Day Challenge, January 26, 2008 at the University of North Florida, Hodges Stadium. This event drew 12,500 fans from 40 states in the USA and 15 countries. They also hosted the "Rhinos Stampede to Florida" that saw the Leeds Rhinos and the Salford City Reds (both from the UK) visit Jacksonville for a 10-day training camp and game during early 2009 that saw 7000 fans visit Hodges Stadium. Later that year they Axemen also arranged and hosted the "HotelsofJacksonville.com Atlantic Cup" that saw the USA National Team play the Jamaican National team in a full international. A crowd of approximately 3500 attended the game.
The Axemen are believed to be the most recognizable Rugby League team in the USA. They hold the current record for most fans and supporters at home games with average crowds of 2500 and have merchandise sales that ship globally during the AMNRL Season.
In January 2011 the Axemen were one of seven AMNRL teams to announce they were departing to form the new USA Rugby League. They played their first game in the new league on June 4, 2011. The club managed to secure the inaugural minor premiership, however disappointingly were eliminated in the first week of the play-offs by the New Haven Warriors.
USARL season summaries
||8 (1)||7 (0)||0||1 (1)||1/8||
||8 (2)||8 (2)||0||0 (0)||1/8||
Logo and colors
For their inaugural American National Rugby League season the club adopted the colors of white, red and blue but the uniforms are predominantly white. For the 2006 and 2007 seasons the clubs major jersey sponsor is T Mobile with Jaxbars.com being the back jersey sponsor. For 2008 and 2009 the Axemen were title sponsored by Barons Brewing from Australia. This partnership and the efforts the Axemen put into marketing their Black Wattle beer, made Jacksonville the biggest market for the beer in Florida
- Billy Rogers
- Urban Iyo
- Hayden Diggins
- Josh Cock
- Taylor Youngling
- Taylor Alley
- Joe Eichner
- Dan Morcom
- Tyler Mcclain
- Brian Hutchison
- Ryan O'Hara
Southeastern Rugby League Championship
In 2011 the Axemen launched a reserve grade competition, the Firehouse Subs Southeastern Rugby League Championship, which acts as a feeder club system for the Axemen to further develop players. The competing teams are the Daytona Gearheads, the Jacksonville Hatchets, and the Orlando Adrenaline.
For their debut season the Axemen used the Hodges Stadium in North Florida as their home field and they agreed to do the same for the 2007 season including reaching an agreement with the AMNRL to host the 2007 Grand Final Championship game there.
Hodges Stadium (or University of North Florida field as it was previously known) is rented from the University of North Florida by the Axemen in a partnership agreement with the University. The stadium currently seats a total of 9,300 and in January 2007 has undergone construction to include further seating a completed press box and advanced field lighting.
The Axe Maidens
In an effort to increase their community exposure and local marketing the Axemen developed and started a cheerleading squad the "Jacksonville Axe Maidens". They are believed to be the first full-time cheerleading squad for any domestic Rugby team in the USA. The Axe Maidens not only support the Axemen in promotional opportunities and community events but also offer the ladies an avenue to progress into professional cheerleading in other sports in the USA. Darlene Clancy who is the Axe Maiden director was a former Jacksonville Jaguar Cheerleader and operates the Axe Maidens in the most professional environment possible. The Axe Maidens are chosen after tryouts and training sessions at the start of each season and are often seen attending community and charity events. In early 2010 five of the ladies where chosen for the cheerleading squad of the Jacksonville Sharks Arena Football team and one was chosen to become part of the 2010 Jacksonville Jaguar NFL Cheerleading team - The "ROAR".
First ever American Football vs Rugby League game
The Jacksonville Axemen played a cross code game between Rugby League and American Football, by playing the Jacksonville Knights and defeated them 38-27 It may have been the first time that both an American Football team and a Rugby League team played a cross code game. Both teams received coaching in their opponent's sport and then played one half in full American Football equipment and rules before both teams removed the pads and helmets to play Rugby League in the second half.
Australia Day Challenge
Rugby league was widely exposed to Jacksonville residents during the Australia Day Challenge on January 26, 2008, an exhibition match hosted by actor Russell Crowe between the South Sydney Rabbitohs (Australia) and the Leeds Rhinos (England) - the first international Rugby League match held in the United States.
The Jacksonville Axemen were co-hosts to the event and received a higher level of local recognition through participation in and the success of the event.
Statistics and records
Biggest Winning Margin
|88||96 - 8||Philadelphia Fight||Hodges Stadium||July 29, 2006 (Rd 10)|
Biggest Losing Margin
|60||60 - 0||Aston DSC Bulls||Aston, PA||June 21, 2008 (Rnd 3)|
Most Points for the club
|Perry Vaught||70 (4 tries, 27 goals)||2006||10 *|
Most Points in a Match
|20 (10 goals)||Perry Vaught||Philadelphia Fight||Hodges Stadium||Round 10, 2006||96 - 8|
|2,300||Hodges Stadium||Philadelphia Fight||Won 30-10||July 20, 2010 (Round 6)|
- AMNRL Championship titles: 2010 National Champions
- Capitano, Laura (June 22, 2007). "Rugby league is where action is". The Florida Times-Union. Retrieved November 4, 2010.
- "AMNRL Cup Final X will Celebrate a Number of League Milestones". American National Rugby League News. 2007. Retrieved November 4, 2010.
- Staff (August 29, 2010). "Jacksonville Axemen win AMNRL grand final". The Florida Times-Union. Retrieved November 4, 2010.
- Jacksonville.com: Photos
- "Three New Teams Coming to Florida". jaxeaxe.com. Jacksonville Axemen. May 27, 2011. Retrieved June 14, 2011.
- AMNRL - American National Rugby League
- Jacksonville Axemen, AMNRL, Rugby League, Daryl Spinner Howland
- CSTV.com: #1 in College Sports
- The great rugby cross code games.
- Official websites
- General fan sites
- News sites