Malta Knights begin their Crusade

The Malta Knights began their rugby league emergence with an impressive 78-0 defeat of the British Defence Forces at Melita Stadium in Sydney?s west on Saturday night.

On a history making night, 1156 fans were on hand to witness a dominant performance by the Knights.

Paul Galea put his name in the history books with his first try of the evening after 4 minutes of play, doubling his tally 3 minutes later when he crossed the line again. Ryan Borg was unsuccessful with each of those 2 conversions.

While Malta?s attack down the left was on fire, Matt Zammit made sure it was happening all over the park for Malta with his own try on 14 minutes. Ben Sammut took over the goal kicking duties and Malta was out to scoring a point a minute.

Malta continued to reign supreme as Parramatta Eels junior representative Simon Micallef notched up 2 of his 3 tries in the first half while former Sharks? Ben Sammut added the conversions.

Further tries in the opening stanza to Ryan Borg, Steven Azzopardi kept the score ticking over while Paul Galea made it a hat-trick of tries right on half time.

With Malta up 40-0 at half time, there wasn?t too much coach Grima could say to his troops in the dressing rooms

?They?ve just got to keep the intensity up for 80 minutes, and that?s hard when you?re up by so much? Grima said.

Inaugural captain of Malta, Dallas Weston opened the scoring only 3 minutes after the resumption of the play crashing over on the left flank. Weston was later replaced after suffering a torn bicep. Malta coach Joe Grima later confirmed Weston should be back for Malta?s next game against Fiji A in 3 weeks.

?Weston actually done his bicep, but he should be right for Fiji? Grima said following the match.

Malta?s centre Paul Galea followed his first half performance with 2 further tries in the second half to take his tally to 5 tries for the match.

If the Englishmen weren?t having enough problems of their own on the field, the Melita Stadium crowd rallied behind the Maltese team to chants of ?Malta, Malta!?

Malta?s Bradley Clews later explained how boisterous the crowd was. ?The crowd really got into it?it was like they were right there next to you shouting?you could hear everything they were yelling?

Coach Grima later said he even had troubles getting messages out to the players. ?My trainers were calling the instructions but the players couldn?t hear them over the crowd?

Malta?s dual international Rohan Spiteri achieved a milestone in itself by scoring 2 tries in the second half, this adding to his personal achievement of tries he has scored for the Malta rugby union team. Spiteri flies out to Malta on Thursday to represent Malta in their rugby union world cup qualifying commitments.

A strong performance by Malta lock Bradley Clews was backed up when Clews scored with 17 minutes to go.

Flying winger for Malta, Simon Micallef completed his hat trick of tries right on full time with Ben Sammut adding the extras for a 78-0 debut win for Malta.

On a memorable night for Maltese rugby league Malta coach Joe Grima?s pride was hard to contain and he stated, ?Success is what happens when thousands of hours of commitment and preparation meet up with one moment of opportunity, this day is that one moment of opportunity?

Amongst the post-match presentations following the match, Defence Forces coordinator Kenny Spalding presented Malta?s Paul Galea with the player of the match award, while Malta coach Joe Grima handed out the best and fairest award to the Defence Forces? prop forward Shane Armitage.

Armitage paid tribute to everyone involved, ?from the coaching staff, players and cheerleaders to most importantly the crowd, thank you? I wish the best of luck to Malta in their endeavours to make it on the world stage of rugby league.

Malta 78 P Galea 5, S Micallef 3, R Spiteri 2, M Zammit, R Borg, B Clews, S Azzopardi, D Weston tries. B Sammut 8 from 12, R Borg 1 from 3 goals.

British Defence Forces 0