Four newcomers - Bradley Ho, Kieran Rush, AJ Wallace, and Alex Young - are included in Jamaica’s 24-man squad, as the Reggae Warriors prepare to make their debut in the Rugby League World Cup.

Fourteen of those selected were part of the squad that qualified for the tournament when winning the 2018 Americas Championship, Jamaica thereby becoming the first-ever Caribbean nation to be included in the competition proper.

The squad is headlined by Betfred Super League stars Michael Lawrence and Ashton Golding from Huddersfield Giants.

Six players from the domestic game are included, five are from Duhaney Park Red Sharks that recently won the National Club Championship Grand Final for the eighth time in 16 seasons, along with former Excelsior Community College speedster Abevia McDonald, who now plays at London Skolars.

Also selected are brothers Aaron and Ben Jones-Bishop, the former becoming Cornwall RLFC’s first international representative.

“We are excited to mix it with the best players in the world and everyone is ready to give their all. We encourage everyone to get behind this team and join us on what should be a terrific as well as historic journey,” said head coach Romeo Monteith.

“We first made our international debut in 2009, and to have qualified for a World Cup less than 10 years later, speaks to our commitment and tenacity.

“We are in a very tough group, but our aim is to give a good account of ourselves. The World Cup is the pinnacle of the game, and we hope this will be the first of many appearances.”

The Reggae Warriors are drawn in Group C and will face Ireland at Headingley, Leeds (October 16), 2008 World Cup winner New Zealand at the MKM Stadium, Hull (October 22) and Lebanon at Leigh Sports Village (October 30).

Two teams from each group will not only advance to the quarter-finals but will also book their ticket to the 2025 Rugby League World Cup to be staged in France.

The local contingent will depart the island on Saturday 1 October, and, in a warm-up match, the Jamaicans will face Cumbria on October 7 in Workington.

JAMAICA 24-MAN SQUAD

Greg Johnson (Batley Bulldogs), AJ Wallace (Bradford Bulls), Aaron Jones-Bishop (Cornwall RLFC), Ross Peltier, Keenen Tomlinson (Dewsbury Rams), Chevaughn Bailey, Khamisi Mckain, Andrew Simpson, Marvin Thompson, Renaldo Wade (Duhaney Park Red Sharks), James Woodburn-Hall (Halifax Panthers) Ashton Golding, Michael Lawrence, Kieran Rush (Huddersfield Giants), Bradley Ho, Mo Agoro, (Keighley Cougars),  Abevia McDonald (London Skolars) Joel Farrell, Ben Jones-Bishop (Sheffield Eagles), Joe Brown, Alex Young (Workington Town), Jacob Ogden (York City Knights), Jordan Andrade, Jy-Mel Coleman (Unattached).

Duhaney Park Red Sharks won their sixth consecutive National Club Championship (NCC) Grand Finals, and eighth overall, following a pulsating 40-18 win over Washington Blvd. Bulls on Saturday at the UWI Mona Bowl.

The Bulls jumped to a 6-0 lead early but the Red Sharks responded well and held a narrow 16-12 lead at halftime.

In the second half, the Red Sharks took control of the game, running in five tries whilst the Bulls could only muster one additional score.

Red Sharks were led by fullback Javian Bryan with eight points from four goals, Kenneth Walker and Jenson Morris each scored two tries whilst Miguel Facey, Joseph Shae, Chevaughn Bailey (MVP) and Andrew Simpson each scored a try. 

For the Bulls, Lawrence Drummond led with six points from three goals and Shamoy Stewart, Oshane Edie and Daniel Morrison scored a try apiece.

“We were a bit scrappy, we had too many knock-ons, but to score 40 points we had to chance our arm a bit. In the first half, we moved from what works for us which is using three to four tackles to lay a platform, instead, we were going one in and looking to play off the second tackle,” said winning coach Roy Calvert.

“In the second half we went back to basics and scored 24 points. Hats off to the Bulls, they gave it to us, but my boys stood up and pulled it off and I am very proud of the team.”

Meanwhile, Bulls’ coach Derone Davis believed fatigue was a key factor in the loss.

 “It was unbelievable being our first grand finals. We started well, we dominated the middle in the first 40 minutes, which was our game plan,” he said.

“Hakeem, Makaya and Kyle were especially damaging carrying the ball and tackling and that kept us in it. We started the second 40 positively but fatigue set in, our skills broke down and we lost the script. Congrats to the Red Sharks on a well-deserved win”

Earlier, Jamaica Defence Force Warriors were comfortable 16-0 winners over West Kingston Hyenas in the play-off for third place.

Courtney Davies, Demar Williams and Okeano Stephenson each scored tries while Nicolai Kennedy kicked two goals. 

In the NCC U19 Grand Finals, Portmore Rugby League Club defeated Washington Blvd. Bulls 4-0 courtesy of a try from Rasheed Pencle.

Meanwhile, in the other U19 club game St Bess Rugby League Club defeated Liguanea Dragons 26-0 for third place.

 

Defending champions Duhaney Park Red Sharks face Washington Boulevard Bulls, the latter in their first decider in the Jamaica Rugby League National Club Championship Grand Final on Saturday, September 17 at the University of West Indies Mona Bowl (kick-off 4 pm, local time). 

The Bulls, who joined the NCC in 2017, beat Jamaica Defence Force Warriors 24-18 in their semi-final, whilst the Red Sharks qualified for their sixth straight championship tie - and 14th in the last 16 years – by beating West Kingston Hyenas, 54-6.

 The Warriors and Hyenas meet as part of a Grand Final double-header to contest third place (kick-off 2 pm, local time), both games will be played at the UWI Mona Bowl.

Bulls Head Coach Derone Davis said of reaching the final: “Our first half was poor but we got it together in the second 40. Our forwards are usually our strength and gave us momentum but our back line stood up, especially defensively. Overall, I am proud of the team. For the finals, we hope we can put together a more complete performance as we will have to be at our best to challenge the champions.”

Adrian Brown with two tries and two goals led the way for Duhaney in their triumph.

“The semis was about getting our combinations right as we are still looking for the perfect game,” said Head Coach Roy Calvert. “The finals will be exciting, we are going for victory and are confident of achieving it but know we need to play a certain way to win. Bulls are a good team and have been on our heels all season.”

Duhaney Park Red Sharks, Liguanea Dragons and Washington Bulls each recorded victories during week two of the Jamaica Rugby League National Club Championships on the weekend.

Community club rugby league returned to Jamaica for the first time in over two years with the playing of the Rugby League Jamaica Summer 9s at the Cedar Grove Academy on Saturday.

Nine community teams participated, and Washington Blvd Bulls came out winners with a hard fought 8-6 win over West Kingston Hyenas in the final. 

The tournament saw two new teams make their rugby league debut, Portmore Rugby League Club and Young Crocs Academy.

Young Crocs made it all the way to the main draw semi-finals before losing to the Hyenas 1-24, meanwhile, Portmore did themselves proud by advancing to the consolidation semi-finals before losing to Duhaney Park 16-18. 

The other teams in the tournament were Liguanea Dragons who lost 8-20 in the consolidation semi-finals and St. Bess Sledgehammers who lost 6-16 in the main draw semi-finals to the Bulls. 

In the consolidation bracket final Duhaney Park Redsharks edged the Jamaica Defence Force Warriors 18-14

Director of Rugby Romeo Monteith commented on the restart of domestic club rugby league.

"The rugby league family is overjoyed to return to community play, this game means a lot for the physical and mental wellbeing of so many and it is good to be back playing," Monteith said. 

"It was a great turnout of community teams, match officials and fans and we hope to build on this momentum as we look to launch our National Club Championship on June 6," he added.

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