A Gareth Barron inspired Malta Origin RL team has defeated Sliema RL to take out the 2013 MRL Dove Men+Care Championship at Melita FC this afternoon.
The British prop who signed for his club only a month ago, scored three tries to help his young side win 46-10. In doing so, the red and whites inflicted Sliema’s first loss in two seasons.
Sliema weren’t helped by the loss of up to eight players from their usual squad but they didn’t do themselves any favours either, making a mistake from the kick off that would eventually see Christopher Rulli cross out wide for the opening points after only one minute of play.
Tempers frayed midway through the opening half, Malta Origin RL’s Michael George was sin-binned for 10 minutes for a deliberate head butt.
The teams got on with throwing the ball around, and it seemed it would be a good afternoon when Brenton Miller finished a nice move down the left side 10 minutes later and Christopher Rulli completed his brace of tries soon after as Joe Paolella’s men headed into the break 14-0 up.
Welshmen Darren Edmunds crossed early in the second half to continue the rout but Sliema skipper Malcolm Attard had other ideas when he grounded the ball for his side’s first points.
Not only solid in defence but Samuel Kawara showed his speed as he motored away for a 45 metre effort to put the match beyond reach for Sliema after 60 minutes.
Andrew Camilleri did peg one back for Sliema, but minutes later Malta international Sam Keep, unlucky with the boot, crossed for a four-pointer to all but seal the championship honours for his side.
As holes appeared within the tiring defence, Malta Origin’s Gareth Barron took full advantage with a brace and completing his hat trick inside the last 90 seconds of play.
Christopher Rulli was named player of the match, followed closely behind by Matthew Alexander as best on field for Sliema RL.
Malta Origin RL prop and captain Joe Paolella said the match was great to be a part of, the 19-year-old commented, “It was a great game to play in, both teams gave it their all. An absolute pleasure to captain Malta Origin throughout this campaign and I look forward to us defending the title next year”
Malcolm Attard, in his first game back since the Malta XIII’s win over the British Army in July, said his team felt the loss.
“We enjoyed the game, it was tough and the loss is hard felt. Unfortunately a combination of a lack of match practice and too many first team players unavailable due to national and work commitments told the difference on the pitch” said Attard.
Sonia Dorsett from Rabat, a rugby league administrator in Sydney where she has resided for 24 years, presented the coveted MRL Dove Men+Care Championship trophy to Malta Origin RL skipper Joe Paolella to conclude the afternoon’s proceedings for the Malta Rugby League (MRL).
Malta Origin RL 46 (G.Barron 3, C.Rulli 2, B.Miller, D.Edmunds, S.Kawara, S.Keep tries; D.Edmunds 5 from 7, S.Keep 0 from 2 goals)
Sliema RL 10 (M.Attard, A.Camilleri tries; O.Jones 1 from 1, M.Attard 0 from 1 goals)
H-T: Orig 14-0
Ref: Mr A.Micallef
Players of the Match: Christopher Rulli (Malta Origin RL) and Matthew Alexander (Sliema RL)
Malta Origin RL: G.Barron, B.Bonello, M.Booth, K.Busuttil-Cordina, P.Debono, J.Dela, D.Edmunds, M.George, N.Horne, S.Kawara, S.Keep (vc), B.Miller, G.Mupimhidza, J.Paolella ©, A.Patamia, C.Rulli, J.Rulli.
Sliema RL: M.Alexander, M.Attard, K.Azzopardi, M.Benson, A.Camilleri, M.Camilleri, J.Debattista, C.Delia, N.Galea, J.Grech, O.Jones, V.Leondiev, N.Maylor, B.Naudi, T.Parker, J.Pavanello, M.Spiteri, E.Willis.