Eight local players to face Denmark tomorrow
Bradford Bulls halfback Jarrod Sammut will turn out for Malta at Gentofte Stadium this Saturday as the Knights take on Denmark in the second leg of the Dove Men+Care International Series in Copenhagen.
Malta coach Anthony Micallef announced the team and presented some of the eight domestic players in the national team from the MRL Dove Men+Care Championship at a press conference today at Victor Tedesco Stadium together with Dove Men+Care Brand Marketing Manager Antonella Mizzi.
Mizzi commented on Dove Men+Care’s support of the competition and threw her support behind the Maltese, after the brand acquired major sponsorship rights of the fledgling rugby league nation earlier this year.
Micallef said there was an air of confidence about the team ahead of the match but one also of nervous excitement, with four of his local players having an average age of only 19.
“They’re good, they’re excited, and so they should be. We’ve got a solid team of seasoned players based and playing abroad together with an exciting mix of local talent, some of which are very young at around 18, 19 and 20 years of age,” he said. “Our setup at the MRL makes them feel right at home and they will each take a lot out of the experience this weekend. And they will be much better players after the experience.”
Some of the players were excited at the prospect of playing alongside Jarrod Sammut for the first time but the focus was on the development of the game in Malta and Gozo.
“Everyone knows who he is. He’s a very talented player and will go down as one of the best Maltese rugby players of all time, but you have to remember there will be another 16 players on that field tomorrow, and without the input of any one of them, the match is in the balance,” added Micallef.
The Super League star scored four tries in the Bulls’ last match of the season only three weeks ago and in his last appearance for Malta, equalled the record for most points in a match, with 36 against Norway that included four tries and 10 conversions last September.
“Together with (Gateshead based) captain Chris Parker who is taking care of the Maltese Exiles concept, we have come up with the strongest squad during my tenure in Malta. It’s a credit to everybody involved in Maltese Rugby League, it’s at it’s strongest position in a long time and the results of good development work do produce a follow on effect up to and including the national team,” he concluded.
Malta squad: Justin Barlogio (Washington DC Slayers), Paul Bartlett (Maltese Exiles), Shaun Bartlett (Maltese Exiles), Paul Borg (Maltese Exiles), Danny Burke (London Skolars), Clifford Debattista (vc) (Gozo RC), John Ellul Sliema Stompers RL), Shaun Gilmour (Maltese Exiles), Carl Grima (Flimby), Gary Hili (Maltese Exiles), Shan Francois Hussain (Gozo RC), Jonathan Magrin (London Broncos), Joe Paolella (Malta Origin), Chris Parker (c) (Gateshead Storm), Paul Parkinson (Gateshead Storm), Jarrod Sammut (Bradford Bulls), Matthew Von Brockdorff (Sliema Stompers RL), Ed Willis (Sliema Stompers RL), Sam Keep (Malta Origin)