With no real domestic competition happening for many years and RLD being more or less dead and no news coming out I decided to run a 9s comp in the near of Bremen. We had 2 teams new to Rugby League in Union Bremen and hosts Karlshöfen as well as the North Brussels Gorillas and the Rotterdam City Pitbulls. It was a hot day and despite a couple of other teams dropping out earlier in the week the day was a big success for all. The Belgians travelled 7 hours to play and were deserved winners of the round robin comp.
The Brussels team are mainly made up of players with Arabic/North Africans heritage. Very fast team with plenty of skill as well. Off the field, true gentlemen who we are proud to call friends. They really love their Rugby League! Zakaria Zoubir and Marco Moraschi should be very proud of their boys both on and off the field. The Gorillas contain most of the National Belgian team. The Rotterdam City Pitbulls, led by the veteran kiwi Jason Bruygoms finished in second spot. In a tough game they just lost out to the Gorillas which proved who would finish first and Second. The Dutch again travelled a good 5 hours and it was a pleasure to have them. The young Karlshöfen team enjoyed an opening win against local rivals Union Bremen in the first game of event. But the pleasing thing was to see the players from both Bremen and Karlshöfen improve as the day went. The Karlshöfen team just losing 16-10 to the Gorillas at the end of the day showed how much progress they had made. The highlight of the game and the day was a 60 metre try from prop Karsten Brüning who swatted 5 Gorilla players out the way like little flies around him. Its not just the players though but the match officials from Belguim, Germany and Netherlands that benefit from a 9s. Without these volunteers we cant have a game or event. For new Refs 9s are a great way to Ref without the pressure of taking a 80 minute game.
Despite the stress and disappointment such days make development worth it. The good news is Rugby League will be rebuilt from scratch in Germany with the help of the RLEF and people who used to be with the old RLD like Bob Doughton, Mawuli Amefia. Germany will be working with the Dutch, Belgians as well as the Danes in helping each other in future times.
Union Bremen (Red/White) v North Brussels Gorillas (Red/Black/Green)
Karlshöfen (Green/Black) v Rotterdam City Pitbulls (Blue/red/white- Old Egremont Rangers kit!)
All the teams in a Photo