Malta Origin RL sealed their second straight grand final appearance when they put on a rather polished performance to dispose of Gozo RL in the last round of the MRL Dove Men+Care Championship this afternoon at Melita FC.
The red and whites completed a 62-point turnaround from Gozo’s upset victory in the previous round, helped by a man of the match performance by British prop import Gareth Barron.
Six-foot-five Barron helped himself to one try and set up at least one other, while quickly becoming known as the flying puma – Samuel Kawara sliced his opposite numbers all afternoon in the searing heat, crossing for three tries as teams battled for a place to take on Sliema RL in next Saturday’s championship final.
Next week’s championship final will be a repeat of last year’s spectacle at Balzan FC where Sliema RL took their maiden Maltese rugby league honours with a 46-24 win over their adversaries.
In the pre-summer rounds of the 2013 championship, Sliema RL brushed aside Malta Origin RL to the tune of 44-16 helped by their Malta national team players by the likes of Dragan Cerketa and Malcolm Attard.
With an injured Clifford Debattista helping himself into the game late in the first half, Mario Mercieca tried to keep the greens in today’s match with a try in each half, Dylan Frendo and Tyson Freeman also crossed the white line but it wasn’t enough. Frendo was best on field for the Gozitans.
Despite being hampered by the unavailability of a number of players in the lead up, the Malta Origin RL team will be full of confidence after halves Sam Keep and Darren Edmunds combined for 22 points between them, while Nick Horne and Christopher Rulli each grabbed four pointers.
Sliema RL will complete two undefeated seasons of rugby league in Malta if they can retain the MRL Dove Men+Care Championship next Saturday.
Malta Origin RL 54 (S.Kawara 3, D.Edmunds 2, B.Bonello 2, G.Barron, N.Horne, C.Rulli tries; S.Keep 4 from 5, D.Edmunds 3 from 5 goals)
Gozo RL 22 (M.Mercieca 2, D.Frendo, T.Freeman tries; D.Frendo 3 from 4 goals)
H-T: Malta Origin RL 36-4
Ref: Mr A.Micallef
Players of the Match: Gareth Barron (Malta Origin) and Dylan Frendo (Gozo)
2013 MRL Dove Men+Care Championship Standings (after normal season)
Sliema RL – 6pts, 3 wins, +92
Malta Origin RL – 6pts, 3 wins, 2 losses, -18
Birkirkara RL – 2pts*, 1 win, 2 losses, -4
Gozo RL – 2pts, 1 win, 4 losses, -70
* Birkirkara RL withdrawn from MRL Championship after three rounds
2013 Top Tryscorers (after 5 rounds)
D.Farrugia (Malta Origin RL/Gozo RL) – 7
D.Cerketa (Sliema RL) – 5
K.Zammit (Sliema RL) – 5
C.Rulli (Malta Origin RL) – 5
T.Freeman (Birkirkara RL/Gozo RL) – 5
2013 Top Pointscorers (after 5 rounds)
D.Farrugia (Malta Origin RL/Gozo RL) – 44pts, 7 tries, 8 goals
D.Frendo (Gozo RL/Birkirkara RL) – 40pts, 3 tries, 14 goals
S.Keep (Malta Origin RL) – 36pts, 3 tries, 12 goals
O.Jones (Sliema RL) – 30pts, 1 try, 13 goals
MRL Dove Men+Care Championship Grand Final:
Sliema RL v Malta Origin RL
Saturday 19 October 2013, 2pm kick off
Melita FC, Pembroke
Photo: Matthew Scerri