The 13th domestic season has kicked off in Jamaica featuring six teams and culminating with a Grand Final on 15 September. For the first time the league is sponsored with the naming rights picked up by social media site ‘Rugby League: Around The Grounds’ which is dedicated to the coverage of rugby league globally.
Defending champions Duhaney Red Sharks opened with a 36-8 win over Washington Boulevard Bulls, Renaldo Wade and Jenson Morris each scoring a brace of tries; GC Foster defeated Jamaica Defence Force 28-20; and Spanish Town Vikings overcame Liguanea Dragons 27-14, all games held at Up Park Camp, Kingston.
After 10 rounds, the top two seeds will go straight to the semi-finals whilst sides 3-6 will play in eliminator matches to join them.
“It will be a tough year for us because when you are successful for a long period, as we have been, there is a bull's eye on your back,” said Sharks head coach Otis Brae. “As a team we are constantly looking to improve on our performances and have made a commitment to debut at least four or five new players this year.”
JRLA director of rugby Romeo Monteith is expecting another competitive season. “The Red Sharks have won three straight titles but the other teams are closing the gap,” he noted. “It’s a big year as selection for the World Cup qualifying squad is also at stake for the players.”