Matt Gardner with fellow forward Juan David Espinal

Date: 20/9/18

The official squad for Latin America’s participation at the 2018 Emerging Nations Rugby League World Championship in western Sydney has been confirmed.

The Guzman y Gomez Latin Heat team is to be captained by former Super League player Matt Gardner – who played at the professional level for Castleford, Huddersfield and Harlequins and is of Brazilian parentage.

Gardner spent this season playing with the Goondiwindi Boars in Queensland’s Toowoomba Rugby League in advance of the Emerging Nations event and previously featured at the 2016 Rio Olympics for Brazil in Rugby Sevens.

He will lead a team that becomes the first Latin American side to contest a global rugby league tournament, representing the heritage of 700 million Latinos worldwide.

Among the touring squad will be administrators and players who have establish the sport domestically in the last five years in nations such as Chile, Argentina, Colombia and Mexico.

The team will contest 4 games in 7 days in a tough regional pool against other developing non-traditional rugby league areas such as Africa, South-East Asia and the Middle East , between October 7 and October 13.
Sun, Oct 7 – versus Mediterranean-Middle East at Cabramatta RLFC, 2.30pm
Tue, Oct 9 – versus ASEAN at Windsor RLFC, 3.15pm
Thu, Oct 11 – versus Africa United at Windsor RLFC, 3.15pm
Sat, Oct 13 – Finals from 11am at St Mary’s RLFC

Matt Gardner – Captain (Mother born Brazil)
Alvaro Alarcon – Vice-captain (Both parents born El Salvador)
Brad Millar – Vice-captain (Father born Chile)
Sebastian Alonso (Born Argentina)
John Eugene Araya Garcia (Father born Chile)
Pete Betros (Mother born Chile)
Patrick Caamano (Father born Chile)
Mana Castillo-Sioni (Mother born Chile)
Iziah Esera Catrileo (Mother born Chile)
Sean Day (Mother born Peru)
Simon De Araujo (Mother born Chile, Father born Brazil)
Nick Doberer (Mother born Chile)
Alex Eastman (Born Colombia)
Juan David Espinal (Born Colombia)
Manolo Elisardo Fernandez Lara (Both parents born El Salvador)
Thomas Garrido (Father born Chile, Mother born Peru)
Francisco ‘Pancho’ Gaspani (Born Argentina)
Rodrigo Ivan Hernandez Zavala (Born Mexico)
James Horvat (Mother born Chile)
Francisco Leiva (Born Chile)
Anthony Maatouk (Mother born El Salvador)
Sebastian Martinez (Born Colombia)
Kevin McKenzie (Born Guyana)
Rafael Mendoza (Both parents born El Salvador)
Oscar Mendoza (Both parents born El Salvador)
Yeison Alejandro Munevar Gonzalez (Born Colombia)
Diego Papa (Mother born Uruguay/Father born Argentina)
Gabriel Papa (Mother born Uruguay/Father born Argentina)
Jye Sommers (Grandfather born Peru)
Brandon Tobar (Father born Chile)
Eduardo Wegener (Father born Chile)
Andrew Zuluaga (Father born Colombia, Resident USA)

Andrew Charles – Head Coach
Fredy Arteaga-Figueroa – Assistant Coach (El Salvador)
Trev Smith – Development Coach
Col Smithers – Team Manager
Rob Burgin – Trainer/Media
Arthur Vernon – Game Day Assistant
Ernie Maclay – FAO
Barry Keeley – FAO
Lee Munt – FAO
Mike Williams – FAO
Anneleise Ferrier – Physio
Jimmy Martire – Masseuse
Carlos Varela – Administration (Argentina)
Ronald Soto Badilla – Administration (Chile)