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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 25 May 2019
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 25 MAY 2019 27 SPORT The Greek Australians aiming to qualify Greece to their first ever Rugby League World Cup CON STAMOCOSTAS Greece are just one win away from qualifying for the 2021 World Cup after defeating Norway thanks in part to the enormous contributions of Greek Australian team coach Jim Pizianias, and rising South Sydney star Peter Mamouzelous. Both Pizianias' parents migrated to Australia from the island of Kalymnos. His Rugby League career saw him make the grade with St George Dragons in 1991 and 1992. After playing Metropolitan Cup for the Newtown Jets from 1993 to 1995 he also played six games for the Greek National Rugby League team. Soon after Pizianias turned to coaching and following a stint as an assistant coach with NRL club Newcastle Knights he is the current assistant coach of the Newtown Jets and Greece. With Greece Head Coach Steve Georgalis on Bulldogs duty, Pizianias took charge of Greece in their 56-26 win over Norway and he told Neos Kosmos the result was one of the highlights of his career. "This is massive for the Greeks back home," he said. "It gives them a massive lift and the players realise that if they work hard they can live a dream and that's what most of them did on the weekend. I also said to the Greek Australian boys before the game Konstandinos Katsidonis and Peter Mamouzelos. South Sydney’s Greek Australian rising star Peter Mamouzelos in action again. that you should be very proud, because we have come a long way to not only play for yourselves and your teammates but your parents and your grandparents." Greece's win over a more experienced Norway was even more remarkable due to the fact that a number of Greekborn players had only taken up the sport just a few months ago. "Theodoros Nianiakas has only been playing for nine months and he has a bright future," Pizianias said. "He is a paratrooper in the Greek Army. Grigoris Koutsibogiorgos (Aris Eagles), and Nikos Bosmos (Rhodes Knights) are also an integral part of that team and Stefanos Bastas who plays for Doncaster in England is also doing very well and I see him playing in the higher leagues in the years to come." RISING STAR PETER MAMOUZELOS Along with 13 local players, the Greece side also has four Greek Australians including Mamouzelos, the star after scoring four tries. When Greece met Norway TERRY LIBEROPOULOS South Sydney Jersey Flegg hooker Peter Mamouzelos scored four tries for Greece as they defeated Norway 56-26 in the Rugby League World Cup qualifying match played in London on 18 May. The win means that Greece, who were also crowned the European Group C champions, will now join Scotland and Russia later in the year with the top two sides advancing to the 2021 World Cup. Greece went into the game with no less than 12 players coming from the domestic competition. It took seven minutes of the game for Greece to open the scoring when Robert Tuliatu threw the dummy and then took three defenders with him to get the ball down for the four pointer. On the back of a penalty, Tuliatu and Jordan Meads combined to send Terry Constantinou over to score wide out in the 16th minute. Two minutes later, Constantinou was able to break through and then get the ball away to put Theodoros Nianiakas away in the open. The Aris Eagles player, who only started playing Rugby League six months ago, was unchallenged on his 35-metre run to the try line. Norway's Frederick Nordtun was sin binned in the 27th minute and Greece made the opposition pay when Meads put centre Dimos Kartsonakis over in the corner. Meads kicked the sideline conversion to make it 20-0. Greece went into the break with a handy 32-0 lead with Mamouzelos scoring the final two of the first half. He scored the first try when skipper Jordan Meads made the break before being tackled short of the try line. Terry Constantinou threw a long pass from dummy-half before Mamouzelos beat two defenders and then dived over to score in the 35th minute. Three minutes later, Mamouzelos collected an offload from Robert Tuliatu and then showed plenty of pace to race 70 metres to score adjacent to the posts. Norway gave themselves some hope with two quick tries from hooker Kristoffer Milligan and winger Casey Diggs early in the second half. Mamouzelos dived over from dummy-half in the 55th minute before Norway scored a further two tries from Kristoffer Borsheim and Fredrik Nordtun to make it 38-20 The Greek team, victorious against Norway. with 14 minutes remaining. Soon after, Greece made sure of the victory when Mamouzelos, playing at half-back, collected the ball from the scrum win. He sent the ball to Meads, who in turn, put Constantinou over in the corner. A magnificent movement from the Greeks saw Mamouzelos begin the move from inside his own half. He linked up with Tuliatu who sent Meads in the clear. Mamouzelos followed through to take the pass and score under the posts. Mamouzelos once again showed plenty of speed to race down the sideline before stepping inside Stephen Mwinkar. The Norwegian full-back managed to hold on but the Greek number nine was able to get the ball away for Theodora's Nianiakas to cross for his second try. Norway finished the game with a consolation try to Diggs, who showed exceptional pace to run 60 metres for the four pointer. Greece 56 (Peter Mamouzelos 4, Terry Constantinou 2, Theodoros Nianiakas 2, Dimos Kartsonakis, Robert Tuliatu tries; Jordan Meads 7, Stefanos Bastas goals) Norway 26 (Casey Diggs 2, Kristoffer Milligan, Kristoffer Borsheim, Frederik Nordtun tries; Nordtun 2, Nathan Cummins goals) at New River Stadium, May 18. Referee: Cameron Wormsley. Half-time: Greece 32-0. Pizianias believes that the teenager has what it takes to make it to the top. "He is a very humble young kid but he is going to be a super star," he said. "He is only 18 years old playing against men. Souths are keen on him and there are probably two or three clubs interested in his services if he can keep his feet on the ground and keep improving he is going to be an NRL player in the future." Mamouzelos, a third generation Greek Australian was born and bred in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney. Both sets of grandparents migrated to Greece with his mother's family originally from Zakynthos while his Dad's side hails from Kalymnos. The 18-year-old currently plays for the South Sydney Jersey Flegg (U20) team and has followed in the footsteps of his father who was also was a Rabbitohs junior. He told Neos Kosmos that representing the country of his family's heritage in his first senior international was an emotional experience. "It was a great honour. I lived with my grandparents for a bit and to see how passionate they are for their country, it was a great achievement," he said. "Especially after the game, my dad tried to hide it but he actually started crying. I have never seen him cry before, so to put on that jersey to represent my culture and my last name is a great honour and it's something that I will cher- ish forever. I'm pleased with my performance, scoring four tries, you can't really complain about that but I'm happy the team won and we were able to put in a strong performance." Mamouzelos is confident that the result against Norway will inspire his fellow Greek Australian teammates at Souths, Nick Mourgias and Lachlan Elias to join the cause for the crucial games against Scotland and Russia. "I'm trying to convince them to come and play in November," he said. "Lachlan played for Australia in Rugby Union last year, he is a great player and Nick has represented his state. To have them in the team would add a lot of quality. But our main focus is for the Greek boys to go back to Greece and keep the level high and working on their game and come November they will be ready to go. We can't wait and we are really excited to see what happens."
18 May 2019
01 June 2019