Atlantic Cup - Game One USA Tomahawks v Jamaica
The boys kickoff the Hotels of Jacksonville.com Atlantic Cup with a really tough assignment against Jamaica on Tuesday night at Hodges Stadium in Jacksonville, Florida. Both teams have had limited preparation, given the distances many players have traveled from all over the world to assemble for the tournament but what may be lacking in team combinations will certainly be made up for by enthusiasm and effort. The weather forecast is for 80 degrees and possible thunderstorms, so it could be a night of unsettled weather, which would be unfortunate for both teams given that we have been spoiled by sunny skies since we arrived last Saturday. We know we are facing a pretty strong Jamaican lineup that boasts a number of foreign based professionals from England. We put in a strong performance last year against a similar lineup, but I am sure the Jamaicans haven't forgotten that loss and will be looking for a better result this year. It has been great to watch our squad develop over the past few days. There is nothing like being in camp and having the ability to prepare together. We have some exciting young players and it will be interesting to see how the whole squad performs in front of what I am sure will be a parochial home crowd. With the game airing live in this site, the guys understand the significance of the opportunity and knowing that their families and friends throughout the country will be able to see them play has the team really focused. They are a proud group. I am sure that they will put in a good performance tomorrow. We understand how talented the Jamaicans are, and how they like to play a fast and exciting style of rugby league. We have to be careful not to let them get off to a flyer because playing catch up with these guys could make for a long night. So our focus will be to play to our strengths, and work hard for each other. It's great to have the opportunity to play the Jamaicans again this year. Romeo Monteith and his coaching staff have done a great job developing Rugby League in the Carribean, and I applaud them for their efforts to grow the game in our region. I bumped into Des Drummond in the hotel earlier today. I used to enjoy watching Des play for Great Britain during his distinguished professional playing career in England and Australia. He was an excitement machine and brought the crowd to their feet whenever he touched the ball. He epitomizes in my mind everything that you would expect from the Jamaican style of rugby league, and one of the games real gentleman. He put the tournament in real perspective for me when he said, 'I'd give anything to represent my homeland of Jamaica and pull on the national jersey just once'. And as much as I wish he could.....I'm glad for my players sake he isn't playing against us!! So where ever you are, enjoy the game and our team. Pass the word and tune in live Tuesday at 6.30pm US est!