20 Jul 2011

Malta captain Daniel Grima has retired from rugby league, aged 36.

The St Paul's Bay lock played his first game of rugby league in 2007 alongside then Penrith Panthers fullback Jarrod Sammut.

The ex Malta rugby union international then made a starring debut for the Malta Rugby League against the British Defence Forces at Floriana Stadium the same year.
Grima attained Malta XIII representative honours in 2008 before him taking over the national team captaincy later that year.

Grima played four times for Malta Rugby League, three as captain; and once for the Malta XIII.

Grima's retirement was forced by a recurring shoulder injury, doctors giving the Malta captain no choice but to retire two games short of his hopes to skipper Malta in this year's European Shield against Germany and Norway.

"Should I act with passion, I'd say I'll have a go. But should I be responsible and logical, I'd have to say that's it, game over for me" said Grima.

"I'm really gutted about this, as this was my final chance to play. It's put me into a very difficult position, where I have to hang up my boots, two games shorter than I had hoped for"

Throughout his rugby playing career, the Kavallieri RFC player (one season: Valletta Lions RFC) also played for the North Rugby League and represented Malta in Nines tournaments against touring opposition including Cambridge University last January. Grima captained the Knights tag rugby team through to premiership victory on their first attempt last season.

Grima has also been an avid supporter of Wheelchair Rugby League, playing in the Maltese competition for 2010 champions, the Knights.

Malta vice-captain Chris Parker paid tribute to Grima, saying "On the pitch, Daniel's style of leadership is that of few words but lots of action, he would not take a backwards step, his passion shines through and he gives 100% in everything he does, a true example to young aspiring players"

"He will be missed heavily on the field but his continual involvement will only strengthen the MRL"

The Malta Rugby League (MRL) will name Grima's replacement later this week, ahead of Saturday's international against Germany.