Malta name squad for Headingley date with Belgium

Malta have named an elite training squad for a busy summer of international action for them.

The Maltese play Belgium at Headingley on June 21, as a curtain raiser for the Leeds v Hull FC Super League game.

They then go on to host Ireland, before beginning their World Cup qualifying campaign with a game against Spain in Valencia on September 26.

National coach Anthony Micallef has gathered together nine of the best domestic players, who will also undertake social responsibility commitments and receive specialist training from foreign based coaches.

“There’s a lot of energy in the younger guys and this approach takes it up a level from what everyone is used to,” said one player, current international Malcolm Attard.

“Having a structured approach for a select group of players puts everyone on the same page and gives us a lot more direction.”

Birkirkara Eagles’ 19-year-old winger Jean-Pierre Zarb, who made his international debut against Greece last year and was also in the Malta team that defeated Czech Republic, is relishing the chance to play at one of rugby league’s most famous stadiums.

“Everyone is looking forward to it, we’re expecting the biggest crowd we’ve ever played in front of and the players from Malta are trying to be in the best condition we’ve ever been in for a summer international,” he said.

Malta are also looking to appoint a high performance assistant coach for the summer campaign. Applications close at 5pm, Friday July 31 2015.

Malta elite national squad:

Malcolm Attard (Stompers RL), Christian Briffa (Malta Origin RL), Julian Caruana (Stompers RL), Dragan Cerketa (Stompers RL), Peter Debono (Malta Origin RL), Darren Edmunds (Team Pit RL), Sam Keep (Malta Origin RL), Joe Paolella (Malta Origin RL), Jean-Pierre Zarb (Eagles RL)

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