Three Newcastle Rugby League players have helped a Jarrod Sammut-inspired Malta claim the 2018 Emerging Nations World Championship in Sydney on the weekend.
Wests second-rower Ben Stone, Kurri prop Peter Cronin and Lakes winger Jake Scott lined-up for the Knights in Saturday’s 24-16 final victory against Niue at St Marys Stadium.
Sammut returned to play for Malta, who were beaten 26-16 by Niue earlier in the tournament, just a week after steering the London Broncos back into next year’s UK Super League with a promotion-gaining win over Toronto Wolfpack in Canada.
He scored the opening try and kicked two conversions.
Malta led 10-6 at the main break after conceding the first converted try. The advantage was again reduced to four at 14-10 early in the second half but with 15 minutes remaining the Knights were up by 14.
Niue had former Maitland player and current Denman Devils signing Zeb Luisi at five-eighth.
In the third-place play-off Greece, including former Cessnock forward Robert Tuliatu, defeated Hungary 26-18. Earlier in the competition, Hungary had overcome Greece 20-18.
In the battle for fifth spot Poland overpowered Philippines 14-10. Poland had Greta Branxton’s Alex Kowalski while the opening six points went to former Kurri fullback Ethan Niszczot, great nephew of former South Sydney and NSW Blues winger Ziggy Niszczot.