Tomahawks out to chop down locals
By MITCHELL DALE
UNCLE Sam wants you...
More to the point, he wants you at International Stadium this Australia Day when the US Tomahawks national rugby league side takes on the best of the Coffs Coast.
The Tomahawks, who almost pulled off the biggest upset in rugby league history against Australia in Philadelphia last month, will play a Coast-Valley selection made up of players from Sawtell, Orara Valley, Coffs Harbour and Woolgoolga.
If the International Friendly is a success, there is a chance it will become an annual encounter.
The match is the brainchild of Russell Crowe, who also organised for the Tomahawks to include a trip to Coramba for the Orara Valley sevens tournament in their down-under tour next month.
Organisers are confident of fielding a near full-strength Coast-Valley outfit, with all four clubs reportedly throwing their full support behind the idea.
"It is important we put together as strong a side as possible," Orara Valley president Kevin Elks said.
"We want the guys who are playing to take it very seriously.
"We should get a very good crowd if it is promoted properly."
American Rugby League president David Niu said the Tomahawks squad will feature half the team which was pipped by Australia 36-24 last month.
"We have a very young squad, the average age will be about 22-23," Niu said.
"About six or seven of the squad that played against Australia will be coming out, the rest will be young up and coming players."
Former Coffs Comet and NRL veteran Brandon Costin will line up for the Tomahawks, along with former South Queensland Crushers forward Steele Retchless.
"Ian Blake will also be joining us, he is from Texas but has been signed by (Brisbane Broncos feeder club) Toowoomba Clydesdales," Niu said.
"It will certainly be a strong squad."
The Coast-Valley side will wear specially made jerseys for the match.