From Davide Bolzoni

It is now more than a week that Fabio Nannini, called “Nanno” and Matthew Sands, are in Sydney to improve their technical, athletic, and tacticical knowledge of the Rugby League.

Both Sands and Nannini are players from FIRL’s Italian Rugby League Championship, opponents on the field, but friends off it, they have represented their country together, and were members of the team that had a surprising and historic victory over wales on the of 6th October 2010.

FIRL, in collaboration with its Australian Committee, last year sent its members, a notice regarding the possibility of spending a year in Australia, in order to improve their rugby league skills and have a new life experience.

The two Italians are currently living near Liverpool (Australia), and have already started to train with the All Saints Liverpool team, which is part of the West Tigers district.
Both Nannini and Sands, would like to thank everyone who has made this experience possible, especially FIRL and the Australian FIRL Committee, for the possibility to grow as Rugby League players and people.

Both expect to spend this time in Australian in the best possible way, by improving their knowledge within the sport and growing as players / athletes, and in the end being able to transmit and make available the lessons learned in Australia, with their Italian National Rugby League and club-mates.

Anyone interested in pursuing a similar initiative please contact us at this e-mail address
In addition to Nannini and Sands, other Italian Rugby League players are learning the game abroad, XIII del Ducato (Piacenza) player Drake Muyodi, is currently playing with the French team of Bias.

Via Villa, n. 5/C Fax: +39 049 97 28 343
30010 Campolongo Maggiore (VE) P. IVA: 04265800286

Also this week, Matt Parata has signed with Keighley Cougars and Rhys Lenarduzzi will join Christophe Calegari in playing for the rest of the championship in the colours of Lezignan(France).

Soon our site will have a section dedicated to Italians abroad and a blog dedicated to our players in Australia!


Daniel Andruczyk’s email:
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18 Responses to “TWO ITALIANS IN SYDNEY”

  1. Joel says:

    Ignoring the fact Fabio may have never played RL yet, if he hadn’t played 2 seasons with IRFL club Magnifici Firenze before playing the FIRL final each year to qualify for the NT.
    But a good initiative

  2. Chris Sanders says:

    How may NRL and SL players are there in the Italian Rugby League side?

    • druzik says:

      Matthew Sands, (Grifons PD)
      Craig Gower (Harlequins RL)
      Christophe Calegari (Lezignan)
      Vic Mauro (Manly Sea Eagles)
      Dom Nasso (Monto)
      Matt Parrata (Mt Isa)
      Cameron Ciraldo (Newcastle Knights)
      Ryan Ghetti (Northern Pride)
      Joel Riethmuller (North Queensland Cowboys)
      Alex Ranieri (North Sydney Bears)
      Jean Christophe Borlin (Saint Gaudens)
      Ryan Tramonte (St Patricks Blacktown)
      Anthony Minichiello (c) (Sydney Roosters)
      Ray Nasso,
      Cederic Prizzon (Villefranche de Rouergue)
      Ben Falcone (Wentworth)
      Rocky Trimarchi (Western Suburbs)
      Rhys Lennarduzzi (Wests)
      Ben Stewart (Windsor Wolves)
      Juan Pablo Carrara (XIII del Ducato)
      Fabrizio Ciaurro (XIII del Ducato)
      Thomas Covati (XIII del Ducato)
      Giovanni Franchi (XIII del Ducato)
      Romain Pavoni (XIII del Ducato)
      Dean Vicelich (XIII del Ducato)
      Matteo Rossi (XIII del Ducato)
      Santiago Monteagudo (XIII del Ducato)
      Rob Quitadamo (XIII del Ducato)
      Josh Mantellato (Wyong)
      Jonathan Marcinczack (West Bowling)

      this was the initial 30 man squad, it then had to be cut down to 20. Looking for that list now.

    • druzik says:

      This is what I have been able to find/determine of the 20 in the actual squad.

      Anthony Minichiello (Sydney Roosters)
      Craig Gower (London)
      Josh Mantellato (Wyong)
      Dom Nasso (Monto)
      Matt Parrata (Mt Isa)
      Christophe Calegari (Lezignan)
      Ben Stewart (Windsor)
      Ryan Ghietti (Northern Pride)
      Alex Ranieri (North Sydney)
      Ray Nasso
      Vic Mauro (Manly Sea Eagles)
      Cameron Ciraldo (Newcastle Knights)
      Joel Riethmuller (Nth QLD Cowboys)
      Ben Falcone (Wentworth)
      Dean Vicelich (XIII del Ducato)
      Rob Quitadamo (XIII del Ducato)
      Ryan Tramonte (Blacktown)
      Rhys Lenarduzzi (Wests)

      Non highlighted are the local players.
      Bold are Australian based players
      Italics is the English based players
      underlined are the French based players

  3. Chris Sanders says:

    They will beat a lot of countries at the RLWC and could get to the Semis and they will beat the likes of Tonga,Samoa,Fiji and the Cooks quite easily!
    They look well organised!!

  4. Marv says:

    Good move this. If your remember the parkes team had a few Fijian lads in before the world cup. It’s gotta be better for these guys to be training in this environment on a regular basis.

  5. Chris Sanders says:

    The Queensland Cup has really blossomed into a great competition with live ABC TV coverage every Saturday afternoon throughout Austrlia and parts of Asia and the Pacfic .
    Ipswich drew 18 all with the Panthers in a pre-eason game over the weekend!

    • druzik says:

      What the hell are you on about Chris, The QLD cup is shown only on QLS ABC, not the national ABC. And I can bet, a reagional program like that DOES NOT go to Asia or the Pacific. I have never ever seen the QLD cup shown on TV anywhere in Asia when I have been there.

  6. SFM says:

    Played alongside these blokes for Portugal at the International Nines. Really cool guys. I wish them all the best.

  7. SFM says:

    well we (Portugal) were short of numbers on the day when several guys pulling out in the final minute. Matt and Fabio came with another Italian based player and gave us a hand in our final two games against Vanuatu and Philippines. Matt and Fabio were real solid in those games. Couldn’t thank them enough.

    • druzik says:

      Fair enough. What is the current state of portugal RL, it was a surprise seeing the team, as 2 years ago it basically had collapsed from what I had been told. Has someone new taken over RLP?

    • Nanno&Matt says:

      This is Nannini&Sands from Sydney…
      It was a pleasure for us play with Portugal side, thank you very much for the opportunity to play the first 9’s in our Aussie adventure and thanks to everyone had gave us this chance… I wish all the best for Portugal side…. Hope to see you soon and may play again with you.
      Keep in touch.
      Thank you and goodbye!
      Fabio & Mattew

  8. SFM says:

    Mal Speers is doing his best to revive the league and working towards getting it running in Portugal in partnership with the Portuguese rugby union. Here in Sydney, only players who qualify through the eligibility rules will be allowed to play for the premier, masters and juniors 13s sides. He gained a new team sponser and used the Nines tourney to get the brand out there. Obviously at this stage, the nines side this year, was more flexible and open to players who did not meet the eligibility standards. The objective was to expose the team brand out there in the rugby league community.

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