Greece has named eleven debutants in their 19-man squad for the international with Serbia today at the 11,700 capacity Nea Smyrni Stadium, home of Panionios FC (kick off 6pm local time).
It will be the nation’s first home game since their historic participation in last autumn’s World Cup, the sides last meeting in Belgrade in 2017.
Greece coach Michalis Chatziioannou, who has selected players from seven clubs, said: “The Serbs are known for their toughness but I am sure we will surprise them. All the boys seem ready, preparation has been good.
“Hopefully strategically everything will go as planned. We need to settle the newcomers into our style of play but it is a great opportunity for them as we look towards the next World Cup qualifiers.”.
On their way to Athens, the Serbian squad stopped off in Skopje, the capital of North Macedonia and ran a training and promotional session for the first-ever club there, Rugby League Club Vradar, with around 20 players new to the sport attending.
“It was wonderful opportunity to host the Serbian national team and to have great rugby league session with their national team coach, Darren Fisher and his assistants Lazar Zivkovic and Jasmin Bibic,” said Rugby League Club Vardar’s, Damjan Georgievski.
“The next step is to set up second club in Skopje, Rugby League Club Rabotnicki, and to pursue recognition by the North Macedonia government.”
Fisher noted: “We have had a good week together and everyone is excited for the game. The Greeks have done a terrific job in securing a great stadium and on the build up.
Great story to follow but our stop on route was to help Macedonia RL and help their development in RL. The boys didn’t need to stay after our session I gave them permission to rest at hotel but everyone stayed and observed/joined in our delivered session,that’s a team I coach 🇷🇸 pic.twitter.com/qLMqxo3Mc5
— Daz Fisher (@dazfisher13) May 11, 2023
“We have some fresh faces in our squad and I have also rewarded four of our U19s that played well in the European Championship last year.
“They have worked hard this week and it shows our development pathways are working, especially having 17-year-olds make the selection for the men’s seniors.”
The match will be live streamed at: https://www.youtube.com/@GreekRLF/
Iordanis Triantafyllou (AEK), Aris Dardamanis, Athanasios Lamprou, Theofylaktos Paraskevopoulos (Aris Eagles), Thomas Zikos (Glyfada Sharks) Alexandros Aliu, Stefanos Bastas, Michail Bosmos, Leonidas Mingko (Rhodes Knights), Aris Koulizakis, Ioannis Nake, Georgios Paliogiannis, Konstantinos Papageorgiou, Nikolaos Papanikolaou, Nikolaos Stefanou, Stephanos Stephanou, Charilaos Xygkas (Attica Rhinos), Nectarios Tsakalos (Athens Raiders), Panagiotis Karefilis (Perama Tigers)
Aleksandar Pavlovic, Dragan Jankovic, Dzavid Jasari, Enis Bibic, Strahinja Stojiljkovic (Partisan Belgrade), Marko Jakovljevic (Radnicki Belgrade), Luka Illic, Mihajlo Jovic , Stefan Arsic (Radnicki Nis), Denis Cengaj, Dragan Kokanovic, Marko Jankovic, Miodrag Tomic, Milos Zogovic, Nikola Djuric, Rajko Trifunovic, Valentino Milovanovic, Vladislav Dedic, Vojislav Dedic (Red Star Belgrade)