Malta moves in
on Sevens

Malta?s rugby league talent was on firing display at the 2006 Orara Valley Sevens, completed over the recent weekend at Coramba Sportsground, near Coffs Harbour on Australia?s east coast.

With supporters travelling en masse to the Australia?s premier rugby league sevens tournament, Malta dazzled its opponents throughout both days, kicking off the tournament in convincing fashion with a 28-22 win over 2007 NRL newcomers, the Gold Coast Titans. Brad Clews opened the weekend?s try scoring displays with a stepping charge, beating Titan?s John Dean to put on the first scoring play. Parramatta Eels Simon Micallef and Penrith Panthers Jarrod Sammut opening their try scoring accounts, both crossing for a double.

Completing the opening day, Malta scored an aggregate of 32 points positive, in pushing aside local A grade outfit Crescent Head Roos and then an under strength Australian Maoris.

Orara Valley Axemen Rugby League Club chairman Glen Soper revealed that more than 15,000 spectators had contributed to the city?s big week of league, with Malta continuing its successful march into the Sunday finals.

Malta out muscled the Sydney Bulls to qualify for the quarter final, the Jim Beam Cup outfit falling to the might of the Malta Knights by 34-26, after the days preceding saw Malta take centre stage with the naming of three players in the tournaments international team of the tournament. Malta skipper Ben Sammut joined Simon Micallef and Jarrod Sammut in taking the honours.

After a convincing round of results, Narwan Eels were provided a 30-8 rugby league sevens lesson by one of the tournament?s Mediterranean heavyweights.

Malta then met Lebanon for the ultimate sevens match up between the Mediterranean nations, the match delayed for 45 minutes as former NRL livewire Wes Patten led a protest to dispute a previous refereeing decision. Hollywood actor Russell Crowe became a mediator in settling the disagreement, which posed a threat to tarnishing the magnificent tournament in the final hours.

Malta and Lebanon later returned to the field for the eagerly awaited semi final contest. Wests Magpies? Pat Galea also taking the field, albeit with a broken hand suffered in the opening match of the tournament.

Lebanon played the perfect game of sevens rugby league and with all credit due, edged out Malta by 32-26.

Malta placed third, a marked improvement from the fourth place finish of 2005.

Lebanon went on defeat Fiji and become back-to-back champions of the Orara Valley Sevens.

Further to the haul of awards, Malta?s newest debutant Jarrod Sammut took out the tournament?s top point scorer award with a tally of 38 points.

Despite the class shown throughout the finals, the hosts awarded Malta?s Daniel Spiteri with the tournament?s player of the finals, capping off another triumphant appearance and further promoting the thriving energies of Maltese rugby league.

Ex NRL and Super League star Ben Sammut, skipper of the Malta Knights received the highest of accolades when presented as the overall player of the tournament by the host club, for the second year in succession.

Ubeeco?s Joe Borg presented the Maltese Rugby League Association?s internal player of the tournament award to Simon Micallef and praised the MRLA?s efforts towards the prosperous weekend.

In scoring 38 points over the weekend, Jarrod Sammut also received the MRLA?s top point scorer award.

2006 Orara Valley Sevens Player of the Tournament
Ben Sammut (Mlt)

2006 Orara Valley Sevens Player of the Finals
Daniel Spiteri (Mlt)

2006 Orara Valley Sevens Top Point scorer
Jarrod Sammut (Mlt) 38 Points

2006 Orara Valley Sevens International team of the Tournament
Ben Sammut (Mlt)
Jarrod Sammut (Mlt)
Simon Micallef (Mlt)

2006 MRLA Orara Valley Sevens Player of the Tournament
Simon Micallef (Mlt)

2006 MRLA Orara Valley Sevens Top Point scorer
Jarrod Sammut (Mlt) 38 Points

Group A
Game 1
Malta 28 (S. Micallef 2, J. Sammut 2, J. Micallef, Clews tries; J. Sammut, Clews goals)
defeated Gold Coast Titans 22

Game 2
Malta 30 (J. Sammut 2, D. Spiteri, J. Micallef, B. Sammut, B. Russell tries; J. Sammut 2, B. Sammut goals) defeated Crescent Head 16

Game 3
Malta 26 (S. Borg, S. Micallef, D. Spiteri, P. Marzella, P. Galea tries; S. Borg, S. Micallef, P Marzella goals)
defeated Australian Maoris 8

Day Two
Round of 16
Malta 34 (D. Spiteri 2, S. Borg, S. Micallef, P. Marzella, J. Sammut tries; S. Borg, S. Micallef, P Marzella, J. Sammut 2 goals)
defeated Sydney Bulls 26

Quarter Finals
Malta 30 (J. Micallef 2, S. Micallef, D. Spiteri, J. Sammut, N. Attard tries; D. Spiteri, J. Micallef, J. Sammut goals)
defeated Narwan 8

Semi Finals
Malta 26 (S. Micallef, D. Spiteri, J. Micallef, J. Sammut, W. Grech tries; D. Spiteri, J. Micallef, W. Grech goals)
lost to Lebanon 32

3v4 Playoff
Malta won on forfeit vs Auburn Warriors