Malta vs Philippines Emerging Nations World Cup Pool A Preview

The Philipinnes and Malta will meet for only the second time in their short histories, Malta claiming a 44-26 victory but the game substantially closer than scoreline would suggest, Malta running away with the game in the last 15 minutes, a result that Philippines coach, Marvin Pace states he's "keen to reverse".

The Philipinnes are tipped to do very well in this tournament and have been thrown in at the deep end in Pool A, arguably one of the toughest qualifying pools in the tournament, facing two sides that have beaten them in recent years, Niue in 2014 and Malta in 2017. Ironically Marvin Pace is of Maltese heritage, his parents born in Malta before emigrating but there's no invested interested here and coach Pace has eyes only for the Tamaraws.

Malta Squad:1. Emanuel Sultana 2. Nathan Benson 3. Tyson muscat 4.  Kyle Cassel 5.  Jye Ellul 6. Justin Rodrigues 7. Jono Dallas 8. Dean Zammit 9. Jake Attard (C) 10. Kyal Greene 11. Tyler Cassel 12. Sam Stone 13. Ben Stone 14. Aaron Grech 15. Josh Martin 16. Jake Lennox 17. Peter Cronin 18. Jake Scott

Philippines Squad: 1. Richie Goodwin (VC) 2. Emmanuel Rodriguez 3. Blake Mackey 4. Dennis Gordon 19. Kevin Casinay 18. Jordan Bien 7. Marc Russell 16. Dylan Jones 9. Paul Sheedy 10. Ramon Stubbs 12. Will Grooms 14. Joe Mallion 11. Ricky Kucia 6. Kieren Wiggins 15. Ellis Jensen 17. Ryan Jones 23. Jeremy Grooms 20. Reynaldo Penalosa

Malta coach Aaron McDonald was carefully optimistic, saying "The first game of any tournament is always a challenge and somewhat of an unknown. As a squad we have prepared well and I’m really looking forward to seeing what the boys can do on the park. Taking on the Phillipines is a big challenge they look to have selected a squad of experienced campaigners and our last game against them was a tough encounter  I'm expecting nothing less this time. This is going to be another opportunity for our players to represent their Country and with that privilege comes a responsibility to put their best foot forward and ensure that we meet the standards we have set for ourselves. Once game one arrives the time for talk is over, it’s time to perform."

Marvin Pace "Both nations are very proud and passionate nations when it comes to Rugby League, Malta's obviously been playing RL a little longer than we have and due to their World Cup Qualifiers early exit, they'll be looking to put in a good performance, I think our Pool is one of the harder ones and i think us and Niue are probably the favourites in Pool A, but in the same breath we are quietly confident we can put in a good performance. Knowing the majority of their squad is heritage and they have great management and coaching staff and they'll pose dangers across the park."


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