Turkey is in the process of becoming rugby league’s newest nation.
Club side Kadıköy Bulls, from a large and cosmopolitan district of Istanbul on the northern shore of the Sea of Marmara, have arrived in Belgrade on a four-day visit that will see them undertake coaching and match official courses, play against Serbian second division side New Belgrade and attend the Serbian Cup final on Sunday.
“So far we have four clubs and Bulls of Kadıköy is the nucleus of rugby league in Turkey,” said their coach Julien Treu on arrival. “We are following all the guidelines of the Ministry of Sports to form a Federation, we have a player’s association and the next step is to have five registered clubs to complete our application.”
The touring party is made up of 27 players and management staff. The Serbian RLF organised a level 1 course for coaches, with similar for match officials prior to the match that was live-streamed at sportuzivo.tv.
“This is great step forward for the rugby league in the Balkans with the start of the process that should see Turkey become a member of the European rugby league family,” noted Jovan Vujosevic, RLEF Regional director for East and Central Europe. “Turkey is very important strategically, not only for Europe but also for our colleagues in the Middle East.”
In the match scrum-half Oguzhan Demir made history, scoring the opening try with a superb 40 metre break and conversion, as Turkish rugby league made its debut in Belgrade.
The scores gave touring Kadikoy Bulls an early lead in their match against Novi Beograd at the FC Radnički stadium in Belgrade and although the hosts, who reached the SRL Cup semi final this season, with four tries from full-back Aleksandar Cvetković ultimately triumphed 40-6, the inclusion of Turkey into the rugby league family was more significant.
“This quick, historic tour is just one small step in establishing rugby league in Turkey” said Jovan Vujošević, RLEF Central and East Europe Regional Director. “We have a lot work to do, but we saw how much potential Turkish players have and I’m sure that the future of rugby league there is bright.”
Led by their French coach Julian Treu, the Bulls sent a 27-man party of players and officials to Serbia and had a busy three days in the capital additionally taking in coaching and match official training courses.
They also saw an historic win for Red Star in the Serbian Cup final, their first in the competition, who defeated Dorcol.
NOVI BEOGRAD: 40 (Serbia)
Aleksandar Cvetković, Vuk Tomić, Slavko Jovanović, Bogdan Raičević, Atanas Trimčeski, Jovan Grubišić, Darko Stošić, Johane Makob Colne, Mihajlo Tomić, Srđan Hrnjez, Jabo Mylwo, Ilija Tintor, Stefan Novaković
Subs: Vitomir Višnjić, Lazar Nastić, Nikola Milićević, Dušan Petraković, Evanilson Chavez
Tries: Stefan Novaković (21), Johanne Makob Colne (30), Aleksandar Cvetković (40, 55, 59, 70), Mihajlo Tomić (66)
Goals: Bohdan Raičević 0/1, Mihajlo Tomić 6/6
KODIKOY BULLS: 6 (Turkey)
Doruk Celiktutan, Alper Topal, Ahmeterren Kilic, Atalaz Alcay, Gokbey Karatas, Huseyin Atabay, Oguzhan Demir, Can Kizilay, Cihan Kerman, Alican Acar, Onur Ersoy, Ali Baran Dursunm Ulas Soysevinc
Subs: Ozan Isik, Tahsin Gungor, Tahsin Ogulhan Kabadayi, Cagri Yagiz Metin, Onat Taylan Jokuroglu, Metehan Kanber, Eren Kemal Sen, Nurettin Ten, Ahmet Onur Cetin
Tries: Oguzhan Demir (11)
Goals: Oguzhan Demir 1/1
Half time: 16-6