The Malta vs Italy October test match is heading to the place where it all began for one of the best players to ever pull on the Azzurri jersey.
Organisers have confirmed they have agreed to terms with Camden Council to have the highly anticipated International grudge match hosted at the Camden Rams home ground of Harvey Shepard Oval, Kirkham Park.
The venue was a nurturing ground for the best fullback in the world at present, Sydney Roosters star and State of Origin man of the series James Tedesco.
The 26 year old 2018 NRL premiership winner has appeared in 6 tests for Italy across their 2013 and 2017 Rugby League World Cup campaigns and spent his formative years playing junior league for the venue hosts Camden Rugby League Football Club.
Camden Council announced in July, a Masterplan was adopted for the venue at Kirkham sports complex.
The construction of two new rugby league fields, expected to be completed by October 2019.
The $1.8million project includes an international size field, a modified size field for junior competition and a grandstand with amenities and change rooms.
The existing rugby league site which has previously hosted NRL - National Rugby League trial matches will remain fully operational for the 2019 season.
MRL President Jean Pierre Zarb said overnight “The Italians will no doubt have a lot of support there on the day as they have that connection with the local hometown hero”
“But our Maltese diaspora is also well represented in the area and we expect most of our big name players to put their hand up for this one” Zarb added.
Narelle Azzopardi, Malta’s team manager said “The day will be a great cultural celebration of Rugby League with 3 games on show”
“Both sides are fielding junior heritage squads before the main event, so there will be plenty of action to keep the fans entertained” she added.
MRL General Manager, David Axisa also revealed that talks are continuing with FIRL Officials Orazio D’arro and Tiziano Franchini in relation to reaching some mutual cooperation back in the home countries.
“I think each federation recognises the role we must play to support domestic development via the International game” Axisa said.
“We’ve been discussing with F.I.R.L. the feasibility of entering a Maltese team into the Sicilian league for some time now. Years in fact, with nothing concrete ever eventuating”
Malta Rugby League (MRL) Secretary Yanika Spiteri recently suggested the most sensible way forward is to assess the concept via a home and away series to begin with, and then see where it goes to from there.
“We’re keen to commit to an initial Cross-Mediterranean Club Challenge. Game 1 in Malta, Game 2 in Sicily and are just waiting on some details” Ms Spiteri said from MRL headquarters in Naxxar.
A focus for us with this upcoming test match in Australia is to highlight the profile of both nations and raise some funds which will go some way into assisting our domestic development of the future” she added.
Fixture: International Rugby League Test Match.
Teams: Malta vs Italy.
Date: Saturday 12th October 2019.
Venue: Harvey Shepard Oval, Kirkham Park
Address: Cnr Hilder Street and Camden Valley Way, Elderslie, NSW, Australia, 2570
Curtain Raisers: U16s and U18s Maltese vs Italian Heritage games from 11.15am.