Malta Rugby League 14/12/2009
Roderick Attard is on the verge of becoming the first Maltese born and bred rugby player to be contracted to a professional rugby league club abroad when he signs with the Gateshead Thunder this week.
The Thunder play in England’s Championship 1 and Attard returned from a trial where he was included in Thunder director of Rugby Chris Hood’s plans for the 2010 squad. Attard said “Chris wants to carry a squad of about 30 players for next season and I am proud to be one of them” “I was thrilled when I got to know that I was selected to go for a trial with the Gateshead thunder” “I was prepared to do my best to take full advantage of this opportunity. The trial was a success since a few days later I was told I would be part of the squad”.
Attard thanks the flowing support he has received before and after the trial for helping him in the historical move for Maltese rugby. “I want to thank all those who have helped me and supported me to start this journey. Especially my family, friends, Kavallieri RFC, Gateshead Thunder personnel, Chris Hood – director of rugby at the Gateshead Thunder and Anthony Micallef and the Malta Rugby League”.
“This opportunity would not have come if it were not for the development work being conducted by the Malta Rugby League. And I thank them for their support and that of the investment by the Rugby League European Federation (RLEF) who is showing faith in the future that lies here in the Maltese Islands for rugby league”
Only days after the Thunder confirmed the services of powerful Fijian international Tabua Cakacaka and a host of other internationals, Thunder director of rugby Chris Hood told British Media that 25-year old Attard is definitely a rough diamond, there’s no doubt he needs work, but he’s a talented guy”
“His defence is very good, his fitness is good too, but we will work on his attack a little” “He’s got all the attributes we’re looking for and now all we need to do is hone those”. “He’s gone home (to Malta) to tie up a few loose ends, like his job (teacher at St Ignatius tal-Handaq Boys Secondary School) over there and he will be back as soon as possible” “We don’t have a specific date on that yet, and it’s unlikely to be the start of training but he’s in just as much of a hurry to get started as we are”
Malta international and teammate Daryl Psaila says “He (Rod) is a very good rugby minded athlete. All Kavallieri players and staff will definitely miss him on the field” “While wishing him all the best of luck, I’m also looking forward to us playing more international games together”
Psaila commented that he has “known Rod for a while now and I’m sure with his determination he can achieve any target he wants” Roderick says rugby in the Maltese Islands is on its way up and the South player intends to return to the islands with Rugby League being a regular activity on the rugby calendar.