Tasos Pantazidis, president of the Hellenic Federation of Rugby League and one of the driving forces behind the establishment of the sport in Greece, has expressed his great satisfaction after the completion of the first championship season, which ended with Rhodes Knights winning the grand final on the mainland.
“It was really good that we had activity all year,” said Pantazidis. “We started in October 2013 and ended at May 2014. Every two weeks we played matches. The most important thing was the fact that teams improved and, at the end of the season, all of them were playing at a higher level.”
That is poised to increase further as HFRL send six trainee coach and match official tutors to Italy in June enabling them, once they are qualified, to train their own technical staff in Greece.
“Getting use of fields and logistics was the hardest thing,” continued Pnatazidis, from Athens. “We had to wait every Thursday to see the soccer programme and then decide about the field and time for our games. That made it impossible to advertise until days before but at the final we had over 500 spectators.
“We are really happy that we managed to organise trips, to operate committees [HFRL set up Championship, Disciplinary and Arbitration committees], to have regular training sessions, and board meetings every two to three weeks.”
Five clubs competed in the first division of the National Rugby League, and three second division teams played friendlies. Next year the HFRL will play a formal second division championship with home-and-away fixtures.
“The enthusiasm of the new players was our true reward,” said Pantazidis. “All clubs really enjoyed the season. Even new clubs like Aris are now thinking about ways to get better organised in order to perform at a higher level.”
The second division final will take place on June 7, in Neapoli Lakonia when Neapoli take on Pegasus B.
Before that, at the end of May, the 9’s cup will take place in Aspropyrgos.