Rugby League in Malta

Rugby League officially touched down in Malta last Friday afternoon at Luqa Airport(Malta) where the 17-man Maltese squad arrived accompanied by coaching and support staff numbering 40.

Greeted by photographers from national Maltese media, the squad have since resided at Sliema where they have been joined by the England Lionhearts national team squad on Monday morning.

Malta's public commitments have notably included a coaching clinic conducted by coaching staff of the Malta Knights along with national team players also.

The MRLA was pleased with the turnout that inluded a number of interested onlookers as well as members of the Sharks rugby union team, who compete in Malta's premier rugby union competition.

The clinic has seen Robert Bonavia selected by Malta head coach Joe Grima to represent Malta at national level in rugby league this Saturday at Marsa Stadium from 2pm versus England.

Bonavia, a member of the Sharks rugby union team and ex national rugby team player was delighted at the selection to join the 17 Australian based Maltese players.

Bonavia will be presented his playing kit at a formal civic function headed by Australian High Commissioner for Malta HE Richard Palk this Thursday night at 'Australia House'.

Malta's rugby league commitments over past days also include the VIP acceptance by the Malta Football Association (MFA) to have the squad present at the Sliema FC v Floriana FC Premier League football match on Sunday where reciprocally, the MRLA presented a autographed jersey to the MFA at half time of the match-of-the-day.

Monday night's episode of Sliema Review(Monday 6pm) on Smash Television featured not only Sliema Media Officer Mario Fenech and the Sliema FC assistant coach but also MRLA Media Officer Anthony Micallef on the panel of the 1-hour long prime time show.

Micallef discussed the arrival of the Maltese squad and its plans for this Saturday's match versus England as well as sharing opinions on local football and sport.

Tuesday has seen the Malta squad visit Malta's sister island Gozo before returning to fine tune themselves before intense preparations to this Saturday's Rugby League International Friendly in Malta.

RLEF Representative Benjamin Araud has arrived in Malta and will assist with developments on the island.

'After organising a meeting between the two teams(Malta and England)I am looking forward to this contest between two parties dedicated to promoting rugby league to the Maltese Islands' Araud said.

The Maltese public can continue to view the rugby league appeal on display when the two opposing squads complete their Wednesday training commitments on a public beach in the country's north.

Wednesday 19th October: Mellieha Beach Malta RL Training 915am England RL Training 1045am

Malta and England will name their respective starting lineups tomorrow.