Italy have named a cosmopolitan train-on squad for their 2017 Rugby League World Cup European Qualifiers Pool A games with Wales and Serbia next month.
A total of 65 players have been included from teams in their domestic competition, England, Wales, France and Australia, as the Azzurri look to qualify for their second successive World Cup.
The headliners are Canberra Raiders’ prop Paul Vaughan who was a stand-out in 2013 and is hoping to make the NRL Grand Final with the Raiders and Hull K.R. pair Terry Campese and Josh Mantellato.
A total of 18 players from six clubs illustrates the growing interest in the sport in Italy, including representatives from their newest clubs, XIII Lovers Palermo and Spartans Catania, in Sicily.
Versatile Ryan Ghietti, who played half-back for the Italians in the last World Cup commented:
“To be named in the Italian team has been my goal this year after being a part of the one that qualified for Italy's first World Cup, that was a tremendous boost for the sport. Then to run out for Italy in all our matches in the 2013 was a huge honour and made me hungry to do it again. I am working hard to get named in the 17-man squad that runs out in Serbia next month to hopefully create more history.”
ITALY 65-MAN TRAIN-ON SQUAD
Simone Boscolo, Matthew Sands (Ariete Este), Christian Bate (Asquith), Dean Parata (Blacktown), Patrik Ziliotti (Brianza Tigers), Joel Reithmuller (Cairns Brothers), Matthew Tedesco (Camden Rams), Paul Vaughan (Canberra Raiders), Joe Tramontana (Canterbury Bulldogs), Remi Fontana (Carpentras XIII), Jayden Walker (Cronulla Sharks), Ben Falcone (Hills Bulls), Terry Campese, Josh Mentallato, (Hull KR), Christophe Calegari (Lezignan Corbieres), Pierangelo Ceretti, Guiseppe Pagani, Luca Rossetti (Lions Brescia), Gavin Hiscox (Mackay Cutters), Luke Poselli (Manly Sea Eagles), Alex Mamonne, Marco Muscatello, Jospeh Napoletano, Angelo Piccone (Mounties), Gioele Celerino (Newcastle Thunder), Jordan Biondi-Odi, Justin Castellaro, Ryan Ghietti, Col Wilkie (Northern Pride), Ty Carucci, Kieran Quabba (North Queensland Cowboys), Richard Lepori (Oldham Roughyeds), Santino Decaro (Oxford RL), Daniel Alvaro, Mason Cerruto (Parramatta Eels), Andy Saunders (Penrith Panthers), Nathan Brown (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Chris Vitalini (South Wales Ironmen), Igor Giammario, Salvatore Catania, Edoardo Pezzano, Matteo Mazzoleni, Asaf Hliwa (Spartans Catania), Shannon Wakeman (St George-Illawarra), Ryan King (Sydney Roosters), Tom Humble, Brenden Santi (Townsville Blackhawks), Blake Cavellarro, Andrew Critiano, Ethan Natoli, Riccardo Parata (Western Suburbs Magpies), Rhys Sciglitano (Wests Tigers), Dario Esposito (Wests Warriors), Ryan Tramonte (Windsor Wolves), Chris Centrone (Wyong Roos), Diego Antl, Mirko Benelli, Lorenzo Luccardi, Emanuele Passera, Raffaele Della Ragione (XIII del Ducato), Francesco Di Trapani, Davide Spinnato (XIII Lovers Palermo), Mirko Bergamesco, Jonathan Marcinczak, Matt Parata (unattached)