Sunday night football returned to the windy city as the Chicago Stockyarders played their first event of the 2011 season with a 7's exhibition game against a Midwest All-Stars team. The Stockyarders, who are building towards possible inclusion in the American National Rugby League in 2012, won the match 28-10. The Midwest All-Stars side, which included ex-USA Tomahawk and New York Knight Ryan Mulligan and Englishman Kellen Smith, were always going to be an appropriate test.
Standouts for the Stockyarders were Australian debutant Chris MacColl and fleet footed winger Nick Letizia. After racing to a 10-0 lead with Rose getting a second minute opener followed by Letizia, it looked as though the Stockyarders could be in for an easy day, but Rugby Union convert center Joe McQuaid bagged a brace either side of halftime to pull the Midwest All-Stars back into contention. It was the Stockyarders who pulled away in the second half though with tries from captain Anderson, Letizia with a scorching second and Dan Grace on the hooter.
Sunday Night Football in Chicago was a success and is set to become a fixture. The only thing missing was Faith Hill singing the opening credits. More Midwest Rugby League exhibition events are planned in 2011 including a possible three-game series between the Stockyarders and All-Stars, a Stockyarders match on the east coast against AMNRL Atlantic Conference opposition, a Midwest 7's or 9's tournament and a City v Country Origin game to wrap up the season.