Former Sydney Roosters forward Michael Korkidas, now playing for English Super League club Wakefield, will captain Greece when they take on Malta at Sydney's Fairfax Community Stadium on October 8 (kick-off: 6pm).
Korkidas has been one of the form players in the English competition and has been looking forward to representing Greece for a number of years.
?I was looking forward to playing for Greece last year (against Italy) but Wakefield reached the play-offs. We failed to make the top six this year which has allowed me time to head back to Australia," said Korkidas.
"Pulling on the Greek jersey and leading the out to the field will be a great honour for me."
The Greeks have been hit by a number of injuries including that to last year's captain Dean Anthony who has just had knee surgery. Willie Peters had already planned an overseas trip while George Gatis has been snapped up by the New Zealand Warriors.
The Greek side is Adam Fletcher, George Siambis, Mark Mundine, George Kouparitsas, Jude Wheeler, Stuart Philpott, Ray Mavroudis, Michael Korkidas (c), Michael Yatras, Todd Pavlou, Nick Nikitaras, Thomas Giatsos, Nick Kouparitsas.
The interchange bench is Andrew Georgiadis, Kosta Kouparitsas, Jim Pizanias, Andrew Alexandropoulos. The shadow reserves are York Antoniou, Mitchell Karabatsos and Paul Salamakis.The side will be coached by Steve Georgallis and will be assisted by Steve Murphy and Arthur Siambis.
"This is our inaugural match against Malta which will hope will become a regular event on the international Rugby League stage. The Maltese Rugby League have done a wonderful job in such a short time. They will be playing the first ever game of Rugby League in Malta later this month and the Greek Rugby League wishes them all their best on their efforts in getting the game going in their homeland," said Georgallis, who played more than 200 NRL games for Eastern Suburbs, Western Suburbs and the Wests Tigers.
The aim for the Greek Rugby League (GRL) is to establish the game in Greece. It will be a massive task for us to kick-start Rugby League in Greece because they don't have a Rugby Culture. However, we are determined to make it work and we have a dedicated team behind us that are working overtime to make it came to fruition.
The Greek Rugby League is looking at playing a game in Athens at the end of next year and then hold a small domestic competition soon after. The GRL will also be looking at participating in the Mediterranean Cup against the likes of Lebanon, Serbia, Morocco and Malta. They will be involved in the World Cup qualifiers for the right to be involved in the main World Cup tournament in 2008.
The Greeks played their first ever international against Italy in 2003, going down 26-24 in an entertaining game played before a crowd of 4000 at Oki Jubilee Oval. Greece then thrashed New Caledonia 58-8 during their tour to the South Pacific Island last year before beating Victoria 24-18 in Melbourne.
The last encounter was last October when Italians, containing a number of NRL and Premier League players, won 58-14 at Marconi Stadium.
"We were all set to go to Lebanon at play in the Mediterranean Cup against the likes of Lebanon, Serbia and Malta. We needed time to plan for the trip but they (Lebanese Rugby League) couldn't guarantee the land costs so we decided to play Malta instead when that fell through," said Georgallis.
The Maltese side is Ryan Borg, Simon Micallef, Anthony Xuereb, Daniel Spiteri, Johnny Micallef, Ben Sammut (c), Luke Branighan, Pat Galea, Steven Galea, Paul Harris, Bradley Clews, Steven Azzopardi, Willie Grech.
The interchange bench is Matt Dux, Brendan Russell, Rohan Spiteri and Matt Zammit.
For all enquiries and access to photos please call Terry Liberopolous on 0417 414 204.