Written by Stuart McLennan
The powerful Athens based AEK football club, formed in 1924, has 30 national titles to its name and an enviable record in European competitions.
This Saturday 18 March, the players from AEK’s rugby league department also known as the ‘Yellowblack Tanks’ will look to add to that success when they take on the Aris Eagles in the grand final for the Greek Rugby League Federation (Western Division) title.
The team, which debuted in the official Greek Rugby League Federation competition in 2019 after participating in a rival competition for a couple of seasons, will enter the match with plenty of confidence after going through the regular competition undefeated.
AEK forward Nikolas Keskinis is immensely proud of the club he represents despite only joining for the last season.
“AEK is one of the greatest clubs in Greece and the Balkans in general,” Keskinis told Everything Rugby League
“We are really proud to be part of this great team that is a family to me and my teammates. That being said, the whole family of AEK is supporting us showing the importance of this great final.
“AEK supports us mentally too. It is the glue that keeps us together and fighting for the club. It is the big idea behind our every thought and the reason we put our egos aside to be a part in this brotherhood between our rugby teammates and the wider AEK community.
“The importance of our last match is critical. It is the great final and, regardless from our lossless season, we can’t say it’s gonna be easy. We stay low, we practice hard and we know that we are capable of winning the big trophy. Although we are aware that we are facing a strong and challenging opponent, we are motivated from the thirst to provide another big trophy for our team.”
In the Eastern Division Grand Final reigning premiers Rhodes Knights will face arch rival the Attica Rhinos on Sunday 19 March while Aris Eagles and Attica Rhinos will square off in the Women’s Grand Final in April. The national men’s team will play an international match against Serbia in Athens on 13 May.
Greek Rugby League Federation President George Stilianos says the grand finals are the culmination of what was a great season even if it was slightly delayed by the World Cup.
“The usual suspects are featuring in this weekend’s finals matches, while we had some new teams playing their first full season and we expect a few more to join us next season. The standard is improving and many players are competing for a spot in the national team.”
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