Malta declare high expectations as Micallef names 36-man-squad

Monday, May 17, 2010, 11:00

The Malta Rugby League (MRL) has named a 36-man-squad following the Rugby League European Federation (RLEF) announcing that Malta will host Norway for the 2010 European Bowl on Friday 4 June.

Both countries will make their first appearance in official European competition and Malta caretaker coach Anthony Micallef has included some surprise selections in the squad that include 18-year-old Parramatta Eels centre Charlie Bonanno and Michael Vella, the skipper of Super League club Hull KR.
The Knights have been through an injury crisis recently, with Daryl Psaila and Roderick Attard ruled out with season-ending injuries but Micallef has still named a squad that sees 19 Maltese based players including some new additions.

Clayton Cassar, Joss Howland, Graham Attard, Jonathan Bonnici and Dario Schembri are all new faces from the MRL Championship.
Ex NRL halfback Luke Branighan will hope to return to Malta for his third national team outing while Toulouse back-rower Pierre Camilleri becomes the first French based player to be considered for the Maltese team.

Malta caretaker coach Anthony Micallef said “The squad is a sure sounding out of players the MRL has in its sights for the competition”
“We’re well aware a number of these players will not be able to play due to their club commitments and on the other hand, there are a number of new faces in the squad that will be pushing for selection”

Chris Parker of the Gateshead Thunder in Championship 1 is named in the 36-man-squad. Chris made his debut for Malta last October.

“Domestically, national team training commenced the other week and the train-on squad is certainly not to say that a number of other players won’t come into contention between now and the competition”

Micallef declared that he has high expectations for the European Bowl. “We’re giving the European Bowl all the respect it deserves, however rightly so, we hold high expectations for the competition. In the same breath however this will be a learning curve for many players who may be a prominent member of our squad over the coming years”

“We have a squad that boasts enough wise heads, along with an exciting mix of youth. And we’re looking to get the services of a couple of overseas based players also”

There are in all 15 potential debutants brought to the Malta fold whilst Welsh based Paul Bartlett and English based Paul Borg and Chris Parker are also named.

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