Malta, Turkey and Hungary were the winners on day one of the 2018 Emerging Nations World Championship played at Windsor Stadium today (Monday 1 October).
The ENWC tournament, which is endorsed by the Rugby League International Federation, showcases the growth of the game internationally, with 30 matches over two weeks across Western Sydney, culminating in the final on Saturday 13 October 2018.
Malta 36 (Tries – Kyle Cassel 3, Nathan Benson, Sam Stone, Justin Rodrigues, Jake Attard; Goals – Nathan Benson 4) def. Philippines 10 (Tries – Jordan Bien, Blake Mackay; Goals – Jordan Bien)
Turkey 30 (Tries – Arda Dalcik 2, Aiden Solman-Cochrane 2, Volkan Er, Ali Bokeyhan Surer; Goals – Ali Bokeyhan Surer 3) def. Solomon Islands 22 (Tries – Jimmy Maebata 2, Tony Kaypuya, Carlwyn Tengamoana; Goals – Eddie Moe’ava 3)
Hungary 20 (Tries – James Korvarch, Daniel Ivan, Cruize Too Ray, Brent Vor Goh; Goals – Jared Forkorsh 2) def Greece 18 (Tries – Adam Vrahnos, Sam Stratis, Peter Mamouzelos; Goals – Sam Stratis 3)
Malta v Philippines
Luke Jobson – Journalist
Rugby League Around the Grounds
The first game of the Rugby League Emerging Nationals World Championship was held out at Windsor Sporting Complex in Sydney, with Malta and the Philippines doing battle.
The hype of the Emerging Nations World Championship had reached its peak, and with the build up done and dusted it was time for these two nations to dive into battle to open up the tournament.
The opening game would be full of bit hits and some fantastic footwork, with Malta coming out of the blocks full of steam.
It would take just over four minutes for the first try, with Kyle Cassel nearly breaking through the line on a shortside play, offloading to Nathan Benson who would go through over untouched to score the first try of the Championship.
Benson improved the angle of the shot by darting in field to plant the ball down, he would convert to make it 6-0 after as many minutes.
The Philippines would gift Malta some back to back sets thanks to some sloppy handling, penalties and a deflected kick.
It would be all that the Knights needed as two plays after a deflected grubber deep in the Knights attacking half, Sam Stone would bring out some fancy footwork and dance his way through the Philippines defense to score Malta’s second try of the afternoon to the right of the posts.
Benson would add the extras to make it 12-0 after as many minutes.
The Philippines would wake up after this, with some big hits and enterprising play allowing them to get deep into the attacking half without reward.
Some great defensive structure from Malta would hold out the attack of the Philippines set after set, making the most of their next opportunity through Kyle Cassel.
A simple second phase play would see Cassel get around his opposite number and slide into the far left corner for a 16-0 lead, with Benson missing the kick from the left hand upright.
The Philippines would hit back almost straight away though, with some fantastic running by the outside back and the prop forwards allowing for some expansive play close to the line late in the set.
Jordan Bien would get a low ball from Marc Russell, but Bien would dance through two tackles and get under the tackle of Benson to score the Tamaraws first try of the tournament.
Bien would convert his own try to bring the margin back to ten at 16-6.
A few errors from both sides would start to creep in, and Malta would capitalise first on it.
Justin Rodrigues would slide straight through the Tamaraws defense after selling a dummy to his right, coming back under the post to make it 20-6.
Benson would shank the kick from directly in front to leave the scoreline as it was going into the half time break.
The second half would start up with both teams attacking the lines and having chances to score, yet coming up empty handed.
Malta would open up the second half the same way they started the first, with Kyle Cassel receiving a short ball from Tyler Cassel to go through the defense untouched from 30 metres out.
Benson would make no mistake this time with the conversion, giving Malta a 26-6 lead.
The Philippines would have to toughen up in defense, surviving raid after raid on their own line to then turn it around and score on their first raid at the Knights defense in a while.
Blake Mackay would take advantage of some spread play, with two offloads and a chest pass out to him allowing the winger to go over with an acrobatic dive to make it 26-10.
Bien could not convert, with the game on a tightrope.
Malta would put an end to it though, with Jake Attard barreling through from dummy half with eight minutes of time left to score in a captain’s display for the Malta Knights.
Nathan Benson would make no mistake from in front this time around, and Kyle Cassel would once again go over to put the icing on the cake as the Knights would record their first win of the RLENWC 2018 campaign with a 36-10 win.
Tries – Kyle Cassel (3), Nathan Benson, Sam Stone, Justin Rodrigues, Jake Attard,
Goals – Nathan Benson (4)
Tries – Jordan Bien, Blake Mackay
Goals – Jordan Bien
Solomon Islands v Turkey
Matthew Wright – Journalist
Rugby League Around the Grounds
It would take Turkey just 2 minutes to grab the game’s opening try, launching an assault on the Solomon Islands‘ line after an error before a neat kick through from Jaydin Salman-Cochrane was collected by Arda Dalcik who raced through to score, the conversion missed by Huseyin Karabork.
The Turkish intensity in defence was beginning to disrupt the Solomon Islands rhythm, players flying out of the line and forcing errors from their counterparts.
Turkey would somehow survive an onslaught of attacks when a penalty gave the Solomon Islands two sets of six on the Turkey line, the Solomon Islands left centre going close but spilling the ball over the line.
Turkey would soon have their second try of the game from a kick, Aiden Salman-Cochrane dribbling the ball off the boot, the bobbling kick spilled by the Solomon Islands and Volkan Er was the fastest to react to the loose ball, the conversion missed, taking the score to 8-0.
The Solomon Islands would hand Turkey possession from a penalty from the restart, Turkey spilling the ball from the restart and then proceeding to give a penalty for lifting.
The Solomon Islands penalised for an incorrect play the ball and the chance going begging.
The Solomon Islands would go close once more, Sanya and Tanga Moana both held just shy of the line as the Turkish side survived yet another attack. The Solomon Islands then handing the ball back to Turkey for crossing, a real chance missed.
Turkey would make the Solomon islands pay for ill discipline, Arda Dalcik going very close with a 20 metre solo effort to get Turkey within touching distance of the line, the ball spread right and Aiden Solman-Cochrane slotting himself through a gap to score, the conversion scored by Ali Bokeyhan Surer.
The Solomon Islands would steal a try 5 minutes before the half, Tony Kaypuya diving over from dummy half close to the Turkish line to get his sides first points of the day, the conversion successful by Eddie Moe’ava, 14-6.
Turkey would respond immediately after conceding, the kick off shallow and to the right of the field, forcing the Solomon Islands player off the field of play.
Turkey driving deep into opposition territory and coming up with points through Ali Bokeyhan Surer out of dummy half and over the line to extend the Turkey lead, Ali Bokeyhan Surer converting his own try to make it 20-6 at the half.
Aiden Solman-Cochrane would grab his second of the game when he shaped to pass at the Solomon Islands’ line and ghosted through a gap to open the scoring for the second half, Ali Bokeyhan Surer on target with the kick.
Dalcik would have his second of the game after Ali Bokeyhan Surer went close for the Turkish side, the ball shipped to the left at speed and a basketball pass found the left centre to dive into the corner, Ali Bokeyhan Surer hitting the crossbar with the conversion attempt, Turkey taking a 30-6 lead.
The Solomon Islands would see possession very briefly in the form of a drop out on the 20 after kicking a penalty too long, Arda Dalcik screeching out the line and delivering a rib rattler to force the ball loose and hand Turkey possession.
The Solomon Islands were still creating chances after the fullback broke from behind the scrum, the strong run followed up by Pura Lavonstarr, the ball spilled 5 metres from the line two tackles later.
Singamoana was causing problems for the Turkish side as he made yet another huge solo break, the Solomon Islands using that as the platform and the human wrecking ball that is Jimmy Maebata steamed onto a flat ball from 10 metres out, Timo Sanga with the successful conversion to make it 30-12.
Tengamoana would be the latest Solomon Islands player to cross, the number 9 going over from close range after Jimmy Maebata was forced back over the line to prevent a certain try, the kick missed.
The Solomon Islands would grab another late try with 1 minute to play, Tengamoana shipping the ball from dummy half to the big man Jimmy Maebata to help himself to a double from within 10 of the line, too little too late though as Turkey held on to be 30-22 winners.
Solomon Islands: 22
Tries – Jimmy Maebata (2), Tony Kaypuya, Carlwyn Tengamoana
Goals – Eddie Moe’ava (3)
Tries – Arda Dalcik (2), Aiden Solman-Cochrane (2), Volkan Er, Ali Bokeyhan Surer
Goals – Ali Bokeyhan Surer (3)
Greece v Hungary
Blake Morgan – Journalist
Rugby League Around the Grounds
The third and final game of day had Hungary and Greece going head to head in a game that was going to be spent strategising with a killer breeze.
As the day cooled down, and the wind picked up, this game was set up to be the perfect way to see the day out.
Off the scrum set and first true play of the game, halfback David Forkorsh took off across field drawing in plenty of defenders before finding his big man, James Korvarch, with a short ball who went storming through and got the scoring going within the opening two minutes of the game.
The Conversion was successful by Jared Forkorsh.
With a penalty marching them down field and the pressure building, Greece were able to grab themselves a repeat set, and were able to find the points not long after that, thanks to a solo effort by Greek backrower Adam Vrahnos who charged his way through the defence, shedding off defenders before crashing over the line to get Greece up and going.
Sam Stratis converted to tie the game up.
Hungary got themselves the lead again through the brilliance of David Forkorsh after penalties assisted Hungary into an attacking position.
The witty halfback hit his man in Daniel Ivan with another perfect short ball as the big forward went storming through the defensive line to go over, though he conversion was missed off the right side post.
Greece were able to get themselves into a few attacking positions, but a mixture of one-on-one strips and errors took the pressure off the Hungary defence.
David Forkorsh also hit the first 40/20 of the tournament with a perfectly struck kick finding touch just a metre out from the Greek line, but the defence stood strong.
Finally after some back and forth footy, Hungary were able to extend their lead just prior to the half time break.
After the forwards scored all the meat pies this game, the backs finally got their share when Hungary centre Josh Institoris pulled off the cheeky step and fend to rid the defence and went flying down field.
The centre did his job as he sucked in the fullback before finding his winger Cruize Too Ray who was able to go over and extend Hungary’s lead.
The conversion was unsuccessful and Hungary took the 14-6 lead into the half time break.
Being down by 8 and Hungary finishing the first half with all the momentum, it was important that Greece came out firing, and that’s exactly what they did.
The Greece boys found themselves scoring the first points of the half to bring the game back within a single scoring play when halfback Tremaine Terzis pump faked the dummy and hit his centre Sam Stratis with a short ball who went charging through the line.
A mixture of lightning fast speed and the agile footwork allowed Sam to beat the defending fullback to go over in the corner, then he converted his own try from the sideline to train only 14-12.
As the game started to heat up, so did the fans, as both teams’ fan bases found their voices as the game moved into the final quarter.
The tensions rose as both teams’ defence stood up, then the errors started crawling their way into the game as the pressure got higher.
Greece finally took the lead with 10 minutes remaining in the game in one of the most incredible rugby league tries you will ever see!
A set of flick passes and desperate offloads finally saw a kick put in by Tyrone Taukamo which was picked up and flicked out to the hooker Peter Mamouzelos who put the ball down under the posts to give Greece an 18-14 lead after the conversion by Sam Stratis.
A beautiful set piece in attack by Hungary gave us a tied game with just 4 minutes to play the game.
An out the back cut out found centre Billy Mozer who then went out to his winger Brent Vor Goh on the overlap who stepped back on the inside of the fullback and was able to ground the ball.
The conversion by Jared Forkorsh gave Hungary the 2 point lead again with just a few minutes remaining.
Despite being given a final minute attacking set, the Hungary defence stood firm and kept Greece out.
Hungary were able to hold on to win the game 20-18 and put an end to a thrilling game and a fantastic day 1 of the Rugby League Emerging Nation World Championship.
Tries – Adam Vrahnos, Sam Stratis, Peter Mamouzelos
Goals – Sam Stratis (3)
Tries – James Korvarch, Daniel Ivan, Cruize Too Ray, Brent Vor Goh
Goals – Jared Forkorsh (2)
NEXT GAMES: Thursday 4 October
St Marys Leagues Stadium, Field #1
11.55am Malta v Niue
1.40pm Japan v Turkey
3.20pm Hong Kong v Poland
5pm Hungary v Vanuatu