6 Jun 2012

Malta and Denmark XIII will meet in the Dove Men+Care International Series this summer with the Danes travelling to Malta on Friday for the first of the two match series. Malta opens the series with a home international on June 9 at Hamrun’s Victor Tedesco Stadium, while the Danes will host the Maltese, ranked 20th in the world, in the return leg on September 29.

"We're building nicely for Saturday's game with arguably the best preparation our national team has had in the lead-up to a match in my four years in charge," said Malta coach Anthony Micallef. "I'm quite comfortable that all the homework has been done to be able to give the Danes as good as we get and better.

"Our six British-based players all played for the Maltese Exiles last month, Justin Barlogio has been working hard with the DC Slayers in the U.S and all our domestic players are coming off a strong Dove Men+Care Championship campaign with each of their clubs. We've stocked up in a couple of positions and want to continue on from our strong victory over the Norwegians last September."

Denmark Rugby League Federation President Rune T. Nordvang said there is excitement surrounding his Danish Lions at taking on their opponents on Maltese soil. “The players are looking much forward to this series. The previous games have taken the players up a steep learning curve and they look forward to take on Malta. They know they'll have to raise their game but that is what they have been doing so far and I've seen them at the representative gatherings - they are not prepared to lie down without a fight,” said Nordvang.

His views were echoed by DRLF secretary Bjarne Vibe: "A couple of comfortable wins against Sweden, and a hard fought and close victory over Norway gave us some confidence early in the development phase of the national team. Up until now we have been relying largely on outstanding individual contributions, so we are hoping that the extra training we have put in, will be evident in better organisation on the pitch."

Malta vice-captain Clifford Debattista is just as excited about the series, also from a personal viewpoint. "It's going to be a good series. We've heard good things about the Danish rugby league players and no doubt they will as give as good as they get," he said.

“I made my national team debut two years ago in the European Bowl; it's a memory I'll never forget. Being involved in another set of fixtures at this level again, there might be another player that will go through the same emotions, but we've (Malta) come a long way since then.”

Joey Davies (Cardiff Demons); Paul Parkinson (Gateshead Spartans); Chris Parker (Gateshead Storm); Clifford Debattista, Gary Hili, Shan Francois Hussain (Gozo RL); Daniel Marzella (Hammersmith); Jonathan Wallace (London Broncos); Danny Burke (London Skolars); Shaun Bartlett, Shaun Gilmour (Maltese Exiles); Joey Criminale, Dylan Frendo, Sam Keep, Joe Paolella (Malta Origin); Malcolm Attard, Matthew Camilleri, Dragan Cerkata, John Ellul, Matthew Von Brockdorff , Ed Willis, Chris Zerafa (Sliema Stompers); Justin Barlogio (Washington DC Slayers); Paul Borg (Widnes St Maries)

Nigel Kitching (head coach), Eugene Hanrahan (captain), Viiga Lima (vice-captain), Andreas Clipet Jensen, Andy Woods, Allan Llobel, Bjarne Vibe, Bobby Gernon, Cameron Woods, Hayden J Bowler, Herbert Mulipola, Joshua Whitehead, Loic Poulain, Mark Nielsen, Martin Pedersen Scott, Muarry Power, Nicholas Jarden, Richard Naylor, Rune Thorbjørn Nordvang, Serge Smirnoff, Silas Mubanda, Tim Topper, Tom Hobbs, Uraia Vucago, Zanki Nicolajsen