The GRLA men’s Grand Finals for the East and West divisions will take place this weekend. On Saturday, AEK Athens will take on Aris Eagles in the West. AEK finished the season undefeated and after this match will take part in Balkan Super League for the first time. The sides last played in January with AEK winning 20-12. AEK winger Iordanis Triantafyllou is the league’s top scorer with nine tries this season.
AEK’s long-serving Christos Loukakis, said: “I cannot describe the joy of playing in a Grand Final. We are very pleased to have made it this far. We are playing against a strong team that has players from the national side with plenty of experience and worthy of respect. We are hoping for a great game for those who are playing and those that will be there watching, and a wonderful atmosphere that will showcase our sport in the best light, where it deserves to be.”
George Haralambopoulos, Aris Eagles’ coach, added: “We are pleased to have reached the Grand Final. We had a lot of new players joining us this year and they have worked very hard and been able to compete to a high standard. I am hoping for a great game that everyone will enjoy and give their 100% best effort.”
The following day the East championship will be decided, with Attica Rhinos hosting Rhodes Knights. Knights are undefeated and narrowly defeated the Rhinos 20-18 when they last met, on Rhodes. Kostas Katsidonis, who played at the recent World Cup in the match against England is a player to watch for the Knights, while Rhinos captain, Ioannis Nake – who also played in that game in Sheffield – has been in fine form.
Rhinos’ coach, Steph Siozos, said: “This will undoubtedly be the match of the season, contested between two teams that have proved their worth to be on the centre stage. We know the Knights will be prepared and they are a very formidable outfit, arguably the benchmark team of the last few years. However, as is the case with many sports, there are new enthusiastic challengers, and we are quietly confident the Cup will make its way to its new home here in Athens. The whole squad at the Rhinos have worked determinedly in the lead up to the game and we are primed are raring to go.”
Opposite number, Michalis Chatziioannou, commented: “We are expecting a very tough match against a strong and well-prepared opponent. We worked on the mistakes of our previous matches at training and I believe we will be ready. The players are excited and are adapting well to the game plan.”
Next season, the Greek competition will see division’s one and two implemented.
The women’s Grand Final, between Attica Rhinos and Aris Eagles, will be played on April 9.