Senior rugby league returned after a two-year absence with Rugby League Jamaica staging its annual national trials match between Reds and Blues at the UWI Mona Bowl last Saturday. The national trials played under the Parish of Residence (POR) banner saw both men and women Reds squad marching to victory.

 In the women's game, Reds ran out winners 48-28 winners.

Shanique Smith led all scorers with a total of 24 points from four tries and four conversions.  Support came from Tarja Richards with four tries and Latoya Sanchez and Dae-Marie Whyte with one each. For the Blues, speedster Naomi Dodd led her team with 18 points from bagging four tries and kicking a conversion while Teresa Smith and Debisha Scarlett had a try each, Teresa Smith added a conversion.

 The men’s game was a humdinger that saw multiple lead changes and was only settled with three minutes remaining when flyer Jenson Morris dived in the right corner for his third try of the day and steal it for Reds.

Man of the match Owen Linton and Andrew Simpson were the other try scorers for Reds. For Blues, Adrian Thomas bagged two tries and captain Khamisi McKain and Steve Miller grabbed one each, Miguel Facey completed the scoring with a converted kick.

“It was a great game by both teams, all the players gave their all. I’m happy Reds came out with the win, but we have a lot to improve on for the remaining series,” said Reds coach Donovan Jackson.

Meanwhile, the Director of Rugby Romeo Monteith was elated to see the senior rugby league back.

“It’s fantastic to get the seniors playing again, it’s especially pleasing to see the debut of senior women rugby league and overall, we are pleased with the level of the players after being out for two years. All these players want to represent their country and the intensity of both games was a testament to that,” he said.

 The series continues on May 21 and 28 and both games will be at the UWI Mona Bowl.

 

Rugby League Jamaica will launch its 2022 Parish of Residence (POR) series which serves as the national selection tool for Jamaica’s domestic players to the full national team, the Reggae Warriors, this Saturday, April 3 when the first of three games will be played at the UWI Mona Bowl in Kingston.

The kick-off is at 2:30 pm with the women’s game, followed by the men’s clash at 4:00 pm. Games two and three will be played at the same venue on May 21 and 28.

As is customary, national prospects have been placed in two squads, Reds, and Blues with most of the Reds' players coming from Kingston and St. Andrew while the Blues will mainly comprise players from St. Catherine with some from other parishes.

On Saturday, history will be created when the women's teams take the field as it will mark the first-time full-contact women’s rugby league is played locally.

“The women’s match is a big deal for us, the ladies have a big opportunity to qualify for the 2025 rugby league World Cup in France and this game marks the beginning of that journey. We are inviting all talented female athletes to give rugby league a go and be part of history,” said Rugby League Director Romeo Monteith.

Blues women players squad Tihana Lewinson, Lovel Atkinson, Daynna Angus, Khimoi McKay, Naomi Mohamid, Vanessa Henry, Debisha Scarlett, Nazomi Christie, Ray-Anna McCalla, Naomi Dodd, Kimisha Jones, Shanoa Lewis, Teresa Smith and Ciara Modest. The team is coached by Andre Hill.

Reds Women are Shanique Smith, Latoya Sanchez, Alicia Richards, Aneil Campbell, MoeshaBogle, Brooke-Ashley Jarrett, Tiana Gordon, Shawna-Kay Douglas, Anna Kay Williams, Dae-Marie Whyte, Sheirne Johnson, Gabrielle Davidson, Candice Tulloch, Nicola Brissett and Lovell Evans. The team is coached by Andrew Dixon and Huntley Anderson.

Among the men, the Reds' team will comprise Andrew Simpson, Kenneth Walker, Adrian Brown, Kevin Thomas, Jenson Morris, Joseph Shae, Adrian Hall, Daniel Graham, Marvin Thompson, Andre McFarlane, Neville Lynch, Kile Nembhard, Owen Linton, Oshane Eddie, Sheldon Kelly, Michael Pearson, and Mahkaya Anderson. The head coach is Donovan Jackson.

Blues men’s team includes Javian Bryan, Adrian Thomas, Shaqueil Pollack, Steve Miller, Miguel Facey, Ryan Grant, Julius Reid, Akeem Murray, Omar Jones, Khamisi McKain, Reinhardo Richards, Chevaughn Bailey, Ronaldeni Fraser, Chevaun Smith, Takeem Creary, and Linval Green. The head coach is Otis Brae.

Brae believes his squad is prepared to go all the way.

“We are ready. The lads have put in practice and getting themselves prepared for this series. The stem is to leave it all on the field where if they do their best, they are already winners," he said.
Meanwhile, Jackson also expressed confidence that the experience of his unit will see them to victory.

“We have a good culture in our squad and enough experienced players to lead us to another series win. We have prepared well; the players know what is at stake and are ready,” he said.

Monteith, who is also Jamaica's head coach, believes a lot is at stake for the players intending to make it into the national squad.

“What is at stake are spots to the rugby league World Cup in England at the end of the year, the players are aware of this and so am expecting high-quality rugby league. The games are always close so the fans will be in for a treat," he said.

"I am really looking forward to identifying the top performers from game 1 and seeing if they can carry through to the next two games.”

The Jamaica Rugby League Association is set to officially restart national training for domestic players, after getting the green light from the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM).

The permission is timely as the Reggae Warriors are set to participate in the Rugby League World Cup in England at the end of 2022, and its domestic contingent has gone over 18 months without matches.

Plans are in place to have the maximum 50 male and a similar number of female players chosen, with two representative squads for each to then be selected under the Parish of Residence (POR) banner.

Team Red will feature players mostly residing or playing for clubs, colleges and universities in Kingston and St. Andrew whilst Team Blue will be made up of players mostly living in or playing for clubs, colleges, or universities in St. Catherine and other parishes.

Strict ODPEM Covid-19 protocols will be followed at all sessions and games. A total of five matches are expected to be staged from April to September, Covid conditions permitting. All players and officials must be vaccinated or undergo testing before each session.

“We would like to thank both ODPEM and the Ministry of Sport for the hard work being done to give National Governing Bodies the green light to return to some activity. Massive credit goes to our vice-chairman Adrian Hall who spearheaded our bid to return to train, it’s been an agonizing wait,” said JRLA Director of Rugby Romeo Monteith.

“Our rugby league community has been devastated by the long absence from playing and at least now our national players can officially resume preparation for the World Cup and other international events we are planning for the year. We continue to ask our wider members to be patient and exercise good judgement as we await further improvements in the health situation and a return to community and school rugby league.”

Jamaica Rugby League head coach Romeo Monteith was full of praise for the Reggae Warriors after their sensational rally to draw 30-30 with Scotland in their international match at the Millennium Stadium in Featherstone on Sunday.

The Reggae Warriors, trailing by 20 points, scored six tries to five and came back from 30-10 down two minutes into the second half, superbly led by Ashton Golding - starting at loose forward for the first time - and Izaac Farrell on debut.

“Today we created history again, everyone should be proud of this team. We showed great character to come back from 20 points down and get a result against the ninth-ranked team in the world,” Monteith told Sportsmax. TV.

“It was a game of two halves; the last 40 we really showed the toughness and resilience we are made of. We will continue to build towards the World Cup in 2022, and this was the perfect boost for the programme.”

Scotland was excellently served by St Helens-bound James Bell, Barrow’s Charlie Emslie posting a try double for them on his international bow.

Jamaica raced into a 10-0 lead with tries from Jymel Coleman and an 85-metre pick up by Ben Jones-Bishop after Sam Luckley had lost the ball, the Bravehearts then holding out Golding and Izaac Farrell and preventing Mo Agoro crossing in the corner with some outstanding goal-line defence.

Keenan Tomlinson was sin-binned in the 25th minute as Jamaica’s discipline let them down and Scotland hit back with Emslie’s first – from a fine pass by Bell – and further tries from Ross Oakes on the overlap, Ben Hellewell diving on a loose ball and Dale Ferguson, all converted by Lachlan Walmsley on his first international start – to lead 24-10 at the break.

Emslie’s second from a spilt high kick seemed to have the Scots firmly in charge, but Jones-Bishop grabbed his brace, Joe Brown went in on the hour and Jordan Andrade crashed to the posts with 15 minutes to go.

Ferguson was sent to the bin with five to go for a high tackle and, switching play on the last, Jamaica’s Alex Brown powered into the corner to level, Izzac Farrell’s conversion attempt just falling short.

In the final minute, Ryan Brierley’s drop goal attempt for the Scots was touched in flight and the Reggae Warriors held on from the resulting dropout.

“It was a tough game, Scotland played really well. The momentum shifted in the middle of the game when we had Keenen Tomlinson sent off. We started fantastic and stuck to what we wanted to do early on, but our kick finishes were a bit poor,” said Reggae Warriors coach Jermaine Coleman.

“We came out in the second half and showed commitment and togetherness that will be the main thing to get us through the World Cup. Our talk at halftime-e focused on what can control such as our tackles, our finished and our energy. Ultimately that showed in the second game and on the back of that we nearly won the game, we certainly can take a moral victory from the draw.”

Monteith said the team had to overcome a lot and the victory was a positive catalyst heading into 2022. “The result does a lot for our confidence, it reinforces our belief that we are on the right track despite the many challenges we face. We had two of our staff members quit just before we played these games, we had 8 players unavailable due to one thing or another, we couldn’t get domestic players or staff to England due to Covid, so to face all these challenges, and end the year with a tie against Scotland, we can build on this moment,” he said.

The Reggae Warriors are currently ranked 20th in the world and defeated Canada and USA in 2018 to become the first Caribbean nation to qualify for a Rugby League World Cup. The postponed 2021 Rugby League World Cup takes in 2022 from October 15 to November 19.

 

 

Jamaica director of rugby/head coach Romeo Monteith and lead coach Jermaine Coleman have named their 19-man squad for Sunday’s Test match with Scotland, at the Millennium Stadium in Featherstone.

The Reggae Warriors are looking to bounce back from last Friday’s defeat at the hands of England Knights, with international ranking points up for grabs against the Bravehearts as both nations look to measure their progress 12 months out from the Rugby League World Cup.

 Super League stars Ashton Golding and Michael Lawrence are once more included, whilst Sheffield Eagle Izaac Farrell and Bradford Bulls’ David Foggin-Johnston are also named and could possibly debut, although Jordan Turner is not available.

 “We are excited to face Scotland for the first time, they are ninth-ranked in the world, a strong team with a host of Super League players and should give us another stern test. We expect an exciting brand of open rugby from both teams which should be a treat for the fans. We picked up a few knocks in our game against England Knights, but these two weeks with consecutive matches against strong nations is exactly what we need to give us an idea of what it will be like in the World Cup,” said Monteith.

“These games are also important in introducing the team to more fans in the UK with the invitation for them to adopt us as their second favourite side for the tournament. It’s not lost on us either that we are inspiring young Jamaicans and West Indians in the UK to have a go at the sport, and this can only help to build our profile and possibilities for the future.”

 JAMAICA SQUAD:

 Greg Johnson (Batley Bulldogs), David Foggin-Johnston (Bradford), Jon Magrin, Keenen Tomlinson (Dewsbury Rams), Danny Bravo, Ross Peltier, (Doncaster), James Woodburn-Hall (Halifax Panthers) Ashton Golding, Michael Lawrence (Huddersfield Giants), Aaron Jones-Bishop, Alex Brown, Jordan Andrade, Jy-mel Coleman (Hunslet), Mo Agoro, (Keighley Cougars), Jacob Ogden (London Broncos) Izaac Farrell, Joel Farrell (Sheffield Eagles), Joe Brown (Workington Town), Ben Jones-Bishop (York City Knights)

In their second ever clash with England Knights, the Reggae Warriors fell to a heavy 4–56-points defeat at the Mend-A-Hose Jungle Stadium in Castleford. The match featured as Jordan Turner’s Testimonial and saw over two thousand fans in attendance on a cold Castleford evening.

 The Reggae Warriors started positively, going directly up the middle and traded set for set with England with Props Michael Lawrence and Ross Peltier showing plenty of steam. There was the opportunity to go for two points after a late hit on scrum-half Jy-mel Coleman resulted in a penalty. However, the Warriors choose to run the ball and gave up the easy two-point option.

Peltier barged over the try line on the 13-minute mark but was held up by the defence. Unfortunately, in the same attacking set, Jordan Turner’s attempted pass to Jacob Ogden was intercepted by Jack Broadbent and the speedy English centre raced 95 metres to open the scoring. Will Pryce converted as Jamaica trailed 0-6.

England got on the score sheet minutes later when Danny Walker scurried over the try line from dummy-half.  Pryce again booted the extra two.

Jamaica made it 4-12 when another raid on the left edge saw Ben Jones-Bishop bully his way over the line. Coleman missed the conversion and that was the closest the Warriors would get to England for the rest of the evening.

England’s pace across the field, brilliant ruck defence and overall ruthlessness when they had scoring chances saw them rack up an additional 8 tries as the game unfolded. Jamaica would have felt hopeful at halftime when the score was 4-24, but England made sure there was no way back for the Warriors.

“I think we started the game well, but the interception changed everything. We were a bit poor around the ruck and conceded too many tries there. We probably lacked a bit of effort in the second half too and kind of succumbed to the game,” said Jermaine Coleman, the Warriors head coach.

“But it was good for us to blow the cobwebs off as a couple of our boys haven’t played for five or six weeks now. It was probably difficult to keep in shape the right way to play against the best young players England have to offer. We have Scotland next week and we have the opportunity to put some things right.”

Meanwhile, Director of Rugby and Head Coach Romeo Monteith the game was a good test to show where the team needs to improve.

“England put in a good performance, and nothing less was expected from a squad with 17 young full-time players eager to prove they can step up to the full senior team,” he said.

“We only had three full-timers and 17-part timers, we all saw the gulf in fitness after 10 minutes and that’s the nature of the sport. We obviously aren’t pleased with the scoreline, but as a programme, we cannot be afraid to face the best players and nations in the world when given the opportunity. It was great being able to support Jordan Turner’s testimonial and for us to measure ourselves.

“Next week, our full ranking international against Scotland will be another big test, they have 10 Super League players, and we will have to lift ourselves on and off the field to get the job done.

 These games provide invaluable yardsticks on where we are and what we need to do to get better. We didn’t prepare and qualify for a World Cup by playing easy teams. Similarly, we are playing tough teams as we prepare for our World Cup debut and hope that will result in us being competitive and springing a surprise or two.”

Jamaica director of rugby and senior head coach Romeo Monteith and lead coach Jermaine Coleman have named their 21-man squad for Friday’s representative clash with England Knights at Castleford’s Mend-A-Hose Jungle. The match is also being played for Reggae Warrior and Tiger Jordan Turner’s testimonial.

With the 2021 Rugby League World Cup being postponed until late next year, Jamaica’s Reggae Warriors are set to play two internationals next month as the Jamaica Rugby League (JRL) intends to make the extra year count.

Newcastle Knights and former Huddersfield teenage wing sensation Dom Young is one of a number of new faces selected for the initial Jamaica 2021 Rugby League World Cup train-on squad.

The Reggae Warriors will become the first nation from the Caribbean region to play in the final stages of the tournament later this year and will be based in Leeds.

Castleford’s experienced back Jordan Turner and Hull KR’s Luis Johnson also receive their first call up, as do Sheffield’s Izaac Farrell – who joins his brother Joel, Bradford’s Dee Foggin-Johnson and Lloyd White, who has previously played for Wales.

Young’s brother Alex, who is at Workington, is also included along with the 17 English-based players who helped the side qualify for the World Cup when winning the Americas Qualifiers in 2018 including Huddersfield’s Ashton Golding who joins club-mate Michael Lawrence, who made his Jamaica debut against England Knights in 2019.

A total of 14 players from the Jamaica domestic league have also been chosen including Khamisi McKain and Renaldo Wade who played in the 2018 qualifiers, and Liguanea Dragons’ Akeem Murray who sparked Jamaica’s win over the USA in their clash in Kingston in 2019.

Jamaica will face Greece in a World Cup warm-up game at Castleford on October 5 which will double as Turner’s testimonial game, and head coach Romeo Monteith has announced a three-day camp at Weetwood Hall in Leeds for the English-based players in preparation from 22-24 June.

The Jamaican contingent is not yet allowed to travel because of Covid-19 regulations and the camp will be run by their UK based lead coach Jermaine Coleman who will oversee on-field activities and will be supported by Leeds Rhinos assistant Chev Walker.

Monteith believes that the balance of the squad is right and competition for spots will be fierce. “We have named a strong train-on squad which gives us coverage in all positions,” he said.

“Only 24 players can make the final cut and so I know everyone will want to put himself in the best position to be selected. For the first time we have adequate options in the halves and our forwards are looking to have depth. Our backs have always been our strength and we will again have plenty of options there.

“It’s extremely disappointing that we weren’t allowed a mid-season international but second to that a camp is the next best thing we can arrange. Our UK operation directors Alex Simmons and Jason Robinson have worked hard to make it a possibility and I am confident our preparations will greatly benefit from it.

“We also hope to have a similar camp in Jamaica for the domestic-based players but we are still waiting on Government approval to return to activities on the island. Certainly, it’s not been a normal time and like other sports, we have suffered greatly.”

JAMAICA WORLD CUP TRAIN-ON SQUAD

Greg Johnson (Batley Bulldogs), Dee Foggin-Johnson, (Bradford Bulls), Jordan Turner (Castleford Tigers), Kevin Thomas (CMU Spartans) Kadeem Williams (Coventry Bears), Jon Magrin, Keenen Tomlinson, (Dewsbury Rams), Danny Bravo, Ross Peltier (Doncaster), Danny Thomas  (Dewsbury Celtic), Andre McFarlane, Andrew Simpson, Fabian Turner, Jenson Morris, Kenneth Walker, Khamisi McKain, Marvin Thompson, Owen Linton, Renaldo Wade, Ryan Grant (Duhaney Park Red Sharks) James Woodburn-Hall (Halifax) Chevaughn Bailey (GC Lions) Ashton Golding, Michael Lawrence (Huddersfield Giants), Luis Johnson (Hull Kingston Rovers), Aaron Jones-Bishop, Alex Brown, Jordan Andrade, Jy-mel Coleman (Hunslet Hawks), Mo Agoro, Zach Braham (Keighley Cougars), Adrian Hall, Akeem Murray (Liguanea Dragons) Jacob Ogden (London Broncos) Abevia McDonald, Jerome Yates, Lamont Bryan, Maliki Lloyd-Jones, Omari Caro, (London Skolars), Joe Brown (Newcastle), Dom Young (Newcastle Knights), Christopher Ball, Izaac Farrell, Joel Farrell (Sheffield Eagles), Nico Rizelli (St. Helens), Lloyd White (Toulouse Olympique), Alex Young (Workington Town), Ben Jones-Bishop (York City Knights), Mason Caton-Brown, Tyronie Rowe (Unattached).

 

 

 

 

Jamaica’s Rugby League team is set to face Greece in October just ahead of the start of the Rugby League World Cup later this year.

Jamaican-born Rugby League player Abevia McDonald has signed a one year contract with English League One outfit London Skolars. He is now the second Jamaican domestic player to sign a professional contract following the footsteps of Nathan Campbell who signed for the Toronto Wolfpack in 2016.

A former student of Excelsior Community College in Kingston, McDonald had signed a first-team contract with the team in 2019 but saw no action as the League One or the Championship were cancelled because of the Covid-19 Pandemic.

He began playing while at EXED in 2013 and developed into a quality player who helped the Red Sharks to the National Club title in 2018. It would be his last game in Jamaica as he migrated to England shortly thereafter. He eventually joined the Skolars Reserve team and scored against Super League outfit Wigan Warriors.

He would go on to score more than a dozen tries for the team which led to his first-team signing in 2019.

"His journey is yet another example of inspiration for the local rugby league community. We know that some domestic players have the ability to crack semi-pro teams in the UK if afforded the opportunity,” said Jamaica’s Head Coach Romeo Monteith.

“We have and have had some quality players come through our local systems. He impressed me from the first time I saw him play, he has blistering speed and it's good to see him stick with the game and push on to where he is today."

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