Sampaguitas, Knights & Italy men win senior rugby league internationals

Honours were shared at the New Era Stadium, Cabramatta as Malta and Philippines met in women’s and men’s senior internationals for world ranking points. The Philippines Sampaguitas triumphed 42-0 against the Malta Dames in the women’s clash, winger Tynia Wells with a hat trick of tries, while in the men’s encounter, Malta’s Knights won 46-22 against the Tamaraws, backrower Dylan Hodgson with a try treble in the Friendship Cup.

Philippines RL president, Reynaldo Nery, commented: “In its second year we saw another successful Friendship Cup event. The Philippines women’s team taking the win against Malta was a very special game for our girls as Renee Targett and Tammy Fletcher played their final internationals, and future stars like Natalia Webb, Payge Condon and Cassandra Koch will need to take the reins. Our new look men’s team fielding relatively young players are building for the future and we hope to take back our win next year.”

Malta Knights stand in coach, Ben Sammut, noted: “A huge congratulations to all the boys on an amazing effort. To put in such a clinical performance is very rewarding, just about everything we spoke of they executed which always pleases a coaching staff. I couldn’t be prouder of them.”

“We defended for most of the game and had very little ball – it’s hard to win games like that,” said Malta Dames coach, Alysha Janssen. “But we’ve spoken about learning from it and we’ll be better for it next time, we have some great young talent coming through.”


Sarah Dimech, Bianca Smith, Chloe Saliba, Christine Gaudiosi, Emily Vella, Keisha Waite, Maria Gregory, Nicole Gusman, Molly Mamo, Ashlei Grande, Taylah Vela, Victoria Coppini, Jamsmine Dooley

Subs: Amey Galea, Kristen Grima, Chantelle Leishman, Dana Buttigieg


Takiah Lani Buchanan, Jilena Grant, Leah Ellem, Linae Williams, Tynia Wells, Natalia Webb, Cassandra Koch, Charlene Vaughan, Payge Louise Condon, Meagan Rickertt, Jacky Lyden, Janine Jamieson, Renee Targett

Subs: Alana Lee Grace, Tammy Fletcher, Roslyn Lye, Erica Rovell

Tries: Wells 3, Koch, Condon 2, Ellem, Rickertt

Goals: Condon 3/5, Jamieson 2/3


Byrson Demanuele, Lucas Borg, Zarrin Galea, Logan Sipple, Elie Foote, Jayden Smith, Zac Vella, Riley Tonna, Kyal Greene, Braydon Sherry, Dylan Hodson, Anthony Bucca, Jordan Xuereb

Subs: Will Exton, Aaron Weston, Tyson Jackson, Luke Sherry

Tries: Tonna, Smith, Hodson 3, Borg 2, Sipple

Goals: Demanuele 7/7


Isaas Rasario, Isaac Acheampong, Ned Stephenson, Dennis Gordon, Bailey Page, Tyrone O’Leary, Nikolas Forrest, Dylan Jones, Tyrone Tootell, Ian Nelson, Ricky Kaucia, Jordan jones, Jeffery Vaughan

Subs: Gerald Reyes, Jeromy Cairns, Mack Selwood, Benjamin Jegede

Tries: Stephenson 2, Reyes, Jones

Goals: Forrest 3/4

Meanwhile, at Lidcombe Oval, Sydney, Italy’s men defeated South Africa 50-20, Dominic Biondi coming off the bench to score tries either side of half time, winger Jack Piccirilli also grabbing a brace and Daniel Atkinson kicking seven goals. The Rhinos finished the game strongly, debutant winger William Shears with a try double.

Italy head coach, Leo Epifania, said: “The squad’s preparation has been focused and determined. Our defence had sting to it while our attack at times was exciting. As we only played seven of our World Cup squad and no NRL players, the result is even more pleasing. We turned up with a desire to perform, clarity on what we are playing for and an understanding of the expectations. We are excited to have blooded a few of our future stars who have now begun the journey of respecting our heritage and the jersey.”

Opposite number, Darryl Fisher, noted: “While we were outmuscled by a very strong Italy side, there were a lot of positives to take from the game. With a number of regulars unavailable, youngsters Joshua Hill, Reilly Canning and Will Shears were particularly impressive along with Herschelle Classen also on debut. The match was a great learning experience for the players and along with the continued building of depth in the squad should serve the side well in 2024.”


Daniel Atkinson, Jack Piccirilli, Kyle Pickering, Mason Iaria, Damian Natri, Joshua Natoli, Todd Sapienza, Luke Hodge, Joseph Tramontana, Anton Iaria, Alexander Myles, Ronny Palumbo, Nicholas Lenaz

Subs: Dominic Bondi, Jack Colovatti, Matthew Craparotta, Massimo Mari,

Tries: Lenaz (2), Todd Sapienza (9), Jack Piccirilli (18, 67), Dominic Biondi (39, 42), Jack Colovatti (48), Kyle Pickering (53), Anton Iaria (59)

Goals: Atkinson 7/9


Luke De Vlieg, Herschelle Classen, Gideon Mzembe, Reilly Canning, William Shears, Coby Thomas, Kam Cryer, Shane Gillham, Harry Blake, Joel Tubbs, Brad Sparrow, Ashley Bull, Aden Perry

Subs: Jason King, Jason Smith, Kalum Gulliver Brown, Joshua Hill.

Tries: De Vieg (12), Shears (64, 76), Canning (70)

Goals: Cryer 2/4