14 Jun 2012

Sliema Stompers completed a clean sweep of the Maltese domestic competition with a 46-24 victory over Malta Origin tonight at Balzan FC to take out the 2012 MRL Dove Men+Care Championship Final in their debut MRL season.

Missing internationals Von Brockdorff, Willis and their suspended top try scorer Camilleri, Sliema were tested until putting their opponents to sleep late in the second half with a flurry of tries on the back of seasoned performers Malcolm Attard, Dragan Cerketa, John Ellul and Max Galea.

Malta Origin rallied to recruit new faces in their squad after missing some of their own regular players but Cardiff based Malta international Shaun Bartlett was limited to watching from the sidelines after receiving a head knock against Denmark last Saturday.

Malta Origin opened the scoring after 10 minutes through Tom Chamberlain, the Englishman played a leading role in the absence of Malta international Sam Keep through an ankle injury. The Malta Origin team looked set to spring an upset going into the break 18-12 up after Sliema controlled each of their previous encounters this season but the second half saw the favourites click into gear to grind out another win with a commanding second half display.

The temperature peaked in the early 30’s earlier in the day but as a soft breeze came across the ground, the heat was only that the Stompers were putting on the young and inexperienced Malta Origin team. Ever present Malcolm Attard was again a rock in the Stompers team, collecting 22 points by way of two tries and seven conversions, and was earlier in the night named as match day three player of the round.

The match will be remembered for Sliema completing a clean sweep of the championship from match day one through to the final, and excelling to a 62 point differential in the positive, throughout the campaign. The championship also saw four Stompers picked up for the national team’s summer internationals.

Stompers player-coach Malcolm Attard paid tribute to his largely inexperienced team, “This is a great feeling. We are extremely happy with what we have achieved in such a short span of time. The guys have come a long way from never having played and this is just reward for the work we put in on and off the field.”

Malta national development manager Anthony Micallef congratulated Sliema Stompers on their championship victory. “Today was a fine evening for the rugby league scene in Malta and credit goes to Sliema Stompers who have proven themselves as the strongest team this season, week in, week out” said Micallef.

“This season’s championship saw the call-up of ten players from the domestic championship, some six of them - debutants to the national team, proving the domestic championship’s importance on the grand scheme of development in Malta.

“The MRL congratulates Sliema Stompers who have together been a fine example of a club throughout this year’s championship on and off the field and we also say well done to the other three clubs that were a part of this exciting championship; Malta Origin, Gozo RL and Kavallieri RL”

Sliema Stompers 46 (M.Attard 2, D.Cerketa 2, M.Galea, B. Cassecouilles, M.Fountain, J.Ellul tries; M.Attard 7 from 8 goals)
Malta Origin 24 (T.Chamberlain 2,B.Marini 2 tries; D.Frendo 4 from 4 goals)

2012 MRL Dove Men+Care Championship Standings
Sliema Stompers 6pts (+74) – 2012 MRL Championship Winners
Malta Origin 4pts (-6)
Kavallieri RL 0pts* (-32)
Gozo RL 0pts* (-36)
* Kavallieri RL and Gozo RL have one match (Match Day Three) in hand.