The USA Tomahawks Nearly Pulled off the Biggest Upset in Rugby League History


In 2004, the USA Tomahawks held the Australian Kangaroos on the edge in a remarkable rugby league match in Philadelphia, marking a significant moment in American rugby league history.

A Historic Night in Rugby League

In a historic rugby league match in 2004, the USA Tomahawks faced off against the Australian Kangaroos in Philadelphia. The Kangaroos, a dominant force in the sport, were expected to cruise to victory, but the game took an unexpected turn.

A Game of Underdogs

The Kangaroos, filled with NRL stars, were up against the USA Tomahawks, comprising mostly park footy players from various regions of the US. The game was anticipated to be a casual stop for the Kangaroos, but it turned out to be one of the most serious challenges they faced.

Building Rugby League in the USA

The journey of establishing rugby league in the USA has been filled with challenges, with efforts dating back to the early 1990s. It required relentless dedication, resources, and enthusiasm from individuals like David Niu, who played a pivotal role in laying the foundation for the sport in the US.

The American Dream

Cracking America has been an elusive dream for rugby league, with sporadic interest and limited infrastructure hindering its growth. Unlike the glamourous notions, it demanded hard work, persistence, and a grassroots approach to build a foundation for the sport.

The Philadelphia Showdown

The Kangaroos’ tour through the USA led to a showdown with the Tomahawks in Philadelphia, marking a significant moment for American rugby league. The match, broadcast live in the US and Australia, garnered unprecedented attention for the sport in the US.

A Remarkable Challenge

The game witnessed the underdog Tomahawks taking the lead, stunning the Kangaroos with a 24-6 scoreline at halftime. The unexpected turn of events left a lasting impression and instilled hope for rugby league’s potential in America.

The Aftermath and Progress

Although the Tomahawks couldn’t maintain their lead and eventually suffered a defeat, the match sparked renewed interest and support for rugby league in the US. Despite facing subsequent challenges, the game’s legacy continues to inspire the growth of the sport in the country.

Future Prospects

Efforts to establish rugby league in the USA have faced obstacles, but upcoming initiatives, including hosting NRL matches in American cities, signify a renewed push to elevate the sport’s presence. The future holds the potential for rugby league to carve its niche in American sports culture.