Once again its been a very hectic week for me, with preparations for a big conference and trip overseas, so sorry for not being on top 100%. This weekend sees many representative matches played around the world. Jamaica are preparing for their Canadian match, which I will be covering. BARLA continue their tour down under with a match as the opener to the NRL in Perth and the Czechs have their annual State of Origin. Malta’s domestic competition also kicked off this week.
National Pride on the Line When Jamaica Face Canada in Fiery Rugby League International.
From Romeo Monteith
Jamaica continues its preparation for the 2011 Rugby League World Cup Qualifiers, when they take on the Canadian national side for the 2011 Carnival Cup. The game will be played on July 31 at Fletchers Field, Markham, Ontario and should attract a large turnout as it will be staged during the Scotiabank Caribbean Carnival in Toronto.
The Wolverines, as the Canadian team is called, are looking to avenge the 32-12 defeat they suffered against the Reggae Ruggers in the 2010 Atlantic Cup in the USA. They will field their strongest available team and with home court advantage, should fancy their chances of upsetting 24th ranked islanders. JRLA Chairman and head of the Jamaican Delegation Ventley Brown, is pleased that Canada Rugby League is facilitating the game, “ The Canadian Rugby League, headed by Eric Perez and Corey Tukeli have done a tremendous job in organizing this fixture, it means a lot to us to play this game on Jamaica Day during the festival and we hope many Jamaican and Caribbean fans will come out in support of the team”
The Jamaicans will be without their professional super-stars playing in the United Kingdom, and will depend on a strong domestic based squad to extend their dominance over their North American rivals. The team has started preparations for the game and is in the process of finalizing visa arrangements for the encounter.
Jamaica has been building a reputation in the rugby league world as an exciting team with an up tempo playing style. Although attracting major international partners such as the Rugby League European Federation, Virgin Atlantic Airlines, and Kukri Sports, the team still struggles to find corporate support on the island, where the sporting landscape is dominated by bigger sports Track and Field, Football and Netball. To date only Supreme Ventures Ltd. and Body Pro Fitness Centre have signed on as official partners for the teams historic quest to qualify the 2013 Rugby League World Cup and Development Manager and coach of the team heading to Canada, Romeo Monteith, would like to see this change.
According to Monteith, “We are definitely growing each year and would like to see other local corporate partners support this fantastic game. It’s the world’s toughest team sport and it promotes discipline and camaraderie like no other sport can, these are qualities desperately needed in our young men. It only takes a little help from different partners to keep the sport going and we are asking any interested company, local or international to contact us if they want to help”
Regarding the game against Canada, Monteith is looking forward to the challenge. “It will be a tremendous test for us, although they are our brothers and a great supporter of the game in the Northern hemisphere, it is going to be war on July 31st as national pride will be on the line. The Canadian head coach Jamie Lester has already stated that they have no intention to come in second, and Jamaicans do not believe in the number two position either, so it will be a battle royal for the number one spot. Jamaica must give a fierce and proud performance, anything less will be a dishonor to our colours and our players are well aware of this”.
Jamaica National Rugby League Squad:
Adrian Myers-GC Foster College Damon Gayle, Jermaine Pinnock, Marvin Thompson, Roy Calvert, Romaen Campbell, Robert Rodney, Ryan Grant –Duhaney Park Red Sharks, Nicholas Wright-Maxfield Star Steppers, Andrew Fong, Claude Yen, Carlye Burger, Jahdeek Clarke, Jade Harrison, Omar Jones, Tiege Jackson, Sandino Hastings, Tyronie Rowe -Vauxhall Vultures.
Staff: Romeo Monteith, Andrew Dixon, Richardo Robinson and Ventley Brown.
The BARLA Western Australia tourists were so close to reaching their goal of returning back home undefeated in all 4 games but were narrowly defeated in their final game by the WA state team 28-20 on Friday night. The final game of the tour was the curtain raiser to the South Sydney Rabbitohs v Brisbane Broncoes which went on the road to nib Stadium in Perth for its third consecutive season in support of the WA’s bid for a NRL team in 2013.
The Western Austalia state team which won the state championships on the week of BARLAs arrival named a strong squad from its domestic first grade competition and included 15 players from the 3 teams BARLA defeated en route to the final game. The majority of those 15 players however didn’t feature in any of those warm-up games being able to rest after the state championships. The WA team came out guns blazing while BARLA looked to be over oared by the occasion in the 20,000 seater stadium filling nicely for the NRL fixture. The hosts opened their account with a penalty conversion from scrum half Rowan Hastings 10 minutes into the 35 minute each way half, the game being cut by 10 minutes due to scheduling problems with the telecaster.
The WA state team looked to be well in control of the game with BARLA looking extremely fatigued in defence from a quick turnaround from Tuesday night’s victory over Fremantle Roosters. North Beach 5/8 Craig Phillis extended the hosts hold on the game with the first try of the match after a jinking run left the BARLA side flat footed, Hastings added the easy goal.
The elite GB amateurs showed real character to overcome the nightmare 20 minute start and began to make some inroads with ball in hand. Carl Booth, Dave Lowery and Trevor Penrose got over the advantage line and with that field position were able to turn around deeper into the WA half. With 10 minutes left of the reduced half East Hull stand off opened the BARLA account with an attacking kick through from close quarters, the ball ricocheted of the defence and Puckering collected his own kick before going under the posts to make his own attempt at goal a formality.
Now only 2 points behind the tourists were truly back in the game and found the confidence they’d shown in the previous 3 victories. Ryan Fieldhouse showed the from the Leigh East fullback has enjoyed throughout the tour with several deceiving breaks from his own half. Only 3 minutes before the interval BARLA took the lead when Shaw Cross wingman and tour top scorer Pat Foulstone finished off a flowing move in the corner to add his 4th try of the tour on the touchline.
BARLA looked to have turned the game in their favour but with just 20 seconds left on the clock WA broke down field. Despite BARLA stopping the primary attack the next play exposed gaps on the edge when Blane Edwards went in at the corner to regain the lead going into the interval 12-10. To add insult to injury over the last minute score in the first half the next score 3 minutes after the restart further deflated BARLAs hopes of victory. Delane Edwards proved to be a continuous thorn in the tourists side in attack and got over for his second try of the evening. Rowan Hastings adding the extras to go 18-10 up.
BARLA stuck at their task as Kells forward Dave Lowery made a massive impression from the interchange. The tourists got back into the game 10 minutes into the second half when Myton’s Carl Booth continued his hard work breaking down his centre crossing the try line or a much needed score. Carl Puckering added the conversion and his side was back in the game trailing by only two points 18-16.
Just like the first half BARLA couldn’t get a consistent roll on the hosts and were left heart broken when they let the game slip with two quick-fire tries from Delane Edwards and Blake Champion, Hastings converting one of the efforts to propel them to a 12 point lead with 15 minutes left to play. BARLA to their credit never threw in the towel despite the obvious fatigue from the pace of the game and a 2 day quick turnaround. Seaton Rangers towering second rower managed to give the tourists a glimmer of hope as his outside angled run put him over to reduce the deficit. The conversion attempt was unsuccessful which meant they would need more than a converted try to push for extra time.
With around 8 minutes left to rescue the game the heavens opened with torrential rain which would flood the game for the NRL game following the curtain raiser. The conditions didn’t help BARLA’s cause with a few handling errors but managed to enjoy some long periods close to the line but WA defended resolutely.
Steve McDermott came close to scoring near the end to setup a grandstand finish. The Halton Simms Cross’ hooker chipped through close the line and collected himself but couldn’t ground cleanly and it wasn’t to be BARLAs dream close to a superb tour.
1 Tyrone Cranston – North Beach Sea Eagles
2 Jason Godecke – North Beach Sea Eagles
3 Taj Mailata – Fremantle Roosters
4 Josh Benjamin – Kalamunda Bulldogs
5 Billy Coughlan – Fremantle Roosters
6 Craig Phillis – North Beach Sea Eagles
7 Rowen Hastings – Fremantle Roosters
8 Nathan Searle – Joondalip Giants
9 Matt Doeg – North Beach Sea Eagles
10 Jon Phipps – South Perth Lions
11 Rick Williams – North Beach Sea Eagles
12 Delane Edwards (C) Fremantle Roosters
13 Blake Champion – Willagee Bears
14 Luke Heath – North Beach Sea Eagles
15 Arlin Paki – South Perth Lions
16 Peter Worth – Rockingham Sharks
17 Sam Jacobson – Rockingham Sharks
18 Blane Edwards – Fremantle Roosters
19 Ben McCrone – Fremantle Roosters
20 James Blake – North Beach Sea Eagles
BARLA GB LIONS
1 Ryan Fieldhouse – Leigh East
2 Mike Johnson – Skirlaugh
4 Carl Booth – Myon Warriors
3 Scott Lofthouse – Kells
16 Pat Foulstone – Shaw Cross Sharks
6 Carl Puckering – East Hull
7 Tim Elliott – York Acorn
8 Mick Ledger – Thatto Heath Crusaders
9 Garry Phillips – Wigan St Patricks
10 Trevor Penrose – Skirlaugh
11 Brett Phillips – Seaton Rangers
17 Craig Jeffels – Castleford Lock Lane
13 Jon Paul Brocklebank – Egremont
14 Stuart Smith – Skirlaugh
19 Steve McDermott – Halton Simms Cross
22 Tom Radley – West Hull
12 Sam Radford – West Hull
15 Lee Fewlass – Myton Warriors
18 Dave Lowery – Kells
23 Mick Randall – Halton Simms Cross
Men of the Match : BARLA : #1 Ryan Fieldhouse WA : #6 Craig Phillis
Western Australia : Craig Phillis 18’, Blane Edwards 35’, Delane Edwards (38’ 53’), Blake Champion 46’. Goals : Rowan Hastings 4/7
BARLA GB Lions : Carl Puckering 28’, Pat Foulstone 32’, Carl Booth 43’, Brett Phillips 58’. Goals : Carl Puckering 2/2, Jon Paul Brocklebank 0/2
Half-time: 12-10, Attendance : 15,371
Gozo Rugby League made a mark on their debut in the MRL Championship when they took on the Malta Origin team at Swatar this evening. In the Gozitans first official fixture, they took the lead with two tries in the opening five minutes thanks to Hussain and Hili to leave the experienced Maltese team shell shocked.
The Maltese clawed back and held a 16-12 lead at half time over the Gozitans who were boosted by guest coach and ex Leeds player Peter Astbury. In the afternoon heat, the Maltese took advantage of experience and the Australian-Maltese contingent of the Frendo cousins Dylan, Matthew and Jamie.
A spirited Gozo team couldn’t match the Maltese in the second half and the Maltese won 36 to 16. Former Great Britain international Roger Millward MBE was a keen spectator.
“I was very impressed with the commitment and the skill level shown by both the Maltese and the Gozitans” said Millward.
“There’s plenty of talent there to work with, I’m sure they’ve got a bright future ahead of themselves in the game”
English Strength and Conditioning Coach Vince Donnelly, in Malta and overlooking the match, said “I was surprised at the level of fitness shown, especially in that Maltese summer heat”
Former England and Great Britain coach Peter Cox added “I found the players very enthusiastic, committed, good tackling and very serious. Much room for improvement when they play together rather than individuals”
MATCHDAY 1 RESULTS
Malta Origin 36 (D Frendo 2, J Criminale 2, M Von Brockdorff, D Schembri, J Frendo, M Frendo, J Micallef-Moreno tries) defeated
Gozo RL 16 (G Hili 2, S Hussain, C Debattista tries)
Half Time: Malta Origin 16-12
At St Martin’s College, Swatar
WEST TAKE CZECH ORIGIN CLASH
A hat trick from Jan Buben – the first three tries of the game – enabled West to beat East 36-24 in the opening representative match in the Czech Republic.
The West, made up of players from Prague, current champions and league leaders Beroun Black Panthers and Churdim Angels, looked as though they would dominate the contest after Buben’s explosive start, however, CZRLA East featuring players from the Pardubice Jets and Vrchlabi Mad Squirrels, hit back with three unconverted tries of their own before half-time.
The difference at the break was a late try for West by Beroun captain-coach David Dolak and two conversions from Buben.
The second half showcased some of the best domestic rugby league ever played in the Republic, with over 500 fans in Vrchlabi, absorbed by a contest containing some bruising defence and complimented with marvelous ball movement from both teams.
East skipper Victor Leeuw was dazzling as he repeatedly weaved his magic while prop Ales Trcka continually plowed up-field with no concern for his own wellbeing and second rowers Roman Nedomlel and Marcel Novak continued the rich vein of form they have been enjoying for their respective clubs during the 2011 domestic season.
For West, apart from leaders Dolak, Buben and Ben Grimwade, Jamie Sherrington showed several touches of class, Michal Hora in only his second game of the season after off-season shoulder surgery was impressive in the unfamiliar centre position, Vlada Sapar a constant menace from the wing and Patrik Nekut magnificent with some huge hits in defence and an ability to time his runs into gaps which gained plenty of field position.
Tries from Hora, Sherrington, Dolak, and Matej Pecina, many set up by impressive Angels young gun in his debut season Marek Pluhar, was enough to secure victory; Nedomlel and an impressive jinking effort from the slick Standa Kosar, East’s reply.
The CZRLA domestic season now takes a break in the lead-up to the historic international against Hungary in July. RLEF Czech Development Manager and National Team Coach, Andrew Mulhall, is looking forward to that test.
“The European Bowl clash with our near neighbours is a unique opportunity to measure the level of Rugby League development taking place not only in the Czech Republic but in central Europe generally,” he said.
“The Czech national team is made up of players who play in a domestic rugby league competition which runs over a seven month period with breaks only for the extremes of summer and winter. The side which will play against Hungary are almost all young men who have only ever played League and are truly in the vanguard of a new era in European Rugby League development.”
CZRLA West: 36 (Jan Buben 3, David Dolak 2, Matěj Pecina, Michal Hora, Jamie Sherrington tries, Jan Buben 2 goals)
CZRLA East: 24 (Radek Mejznar, Tomáš Kynský, Martin Kulhánek, Roman Nedomlel, Standa Kosař, Victor Leeuw 2 goals)
Unfortunately this weekends Midwest game in Chicago was called off due to issues with field availability. It will now be played next weekend, 3rd July, however I wont be able to make it as I will be in a plane somewhere over the Pacific.
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