Quickfire Q & A with Jarrod Sammut

He’s well-travelled on the club circuit, he’s a Maltese international and he’s quite partial to a McDonalds and a Krispy Kreme doughnut after a game. He won’t say no to a jam sandwich either. Step forward Jarrod Sammut, a grilling awaits from Rugby League World readers…

FearNothing: How much did you enjoy that first try for Cru against Bradford at magic weekend, the chip and chase one?
That is probably the try I get reminded of the most. For me it was a great accomplishment because I’d just come back from surgery on a serious ankle injury that had kept me out for a long time. That was my first game back, so to finally be back playing, get a good win for the team and cross for a try myself, it was a huge confidence booster.

Man of Kent: Jam Sandwich (in reference to his Twitter name)? And do you like jam sandwiches?
First of all, I love jam sandwiches.
Secondly, when I was at Bradford there was a young girl, a little supporter, whose family were Bradford diehards through and through. When they used to sing songs about me and chant my name, the little girl thought they were calling me Jam Sandwich. When I met her after games, she thought that was my name. Over my time there we developed a friendship and she, and her family, became a familiar face in the crowd. It might have been for a birthday, but this little girl bought me a pint glass as a present and had Jam Sandwich etched on it.
From the moment I met her and her family and they told me the story of what she thought my name was it just stuck and I quite enjoyed it so I decided to make it my Twitter handle.

DoubleD: How proud are you to represent your Maltese heritage and do you think they have a realistic chance of ever making a World Cup?
My father was a proud Maltese man, and my family is very proud of their Maltese heritage so for me to be able to represent them, and my heritage, is a huge honour. I remember the day I got the phone call asking if I would be interested in playing for them, when I told my dad, he didn’t say too much, but the smile he had on his face from cheek to cheek meant it was a very proud moment for me.
In terms of us reaching a World Cup, that is ultimately our goal. For the past four to six years there has been a big splurge forward for us and we’ve really had to turn the corner and start making things a lot more professional, which has meant that a few people who were interested and keen to get and stay involved have had to back away because they couldn’t fulfil the commitments that we need to move forward.
We have a strong team in place at the minute and are heading in that direction, but we still need players of more experience and from a higher level. Those that are eligible to play from Malta from an NRL or Super League background, we need them to get involved. That would help generate more interest from other players that are potentially eligible as well.
We are still building but hopefully we can reach a World Cup in the future.

Wigan Riversider: Is there hope for a professional London club to be a success in Rugby League?
Without a doubt and what London have shown in the last few years proves that there is talent and a future for the game in the top-flight in London. They do it tough at the minute and they are behind the eight ball because it’s not a Rugby League forefront, but the work they have put in down there, the level of commitment from the staff, players and volunteers is great. There is definitely room for them in the top-flight and in the last couple of years they have more than proved themselves worthy of that.

Chris22: What are your thoughts on having to self-fund to play for Malta in this year’s internationals? If you could say one thing to the IRL about this or the state of the international game generally (especially from the point of view of a smaller nation) what would it be?
We’ve always been self-funded so we wouldn’t know what it was like to be any different. We are still building, even though we’re getting more corporate sponsors that have funding available it is still not enough to take care of all the financial side of things.
On the flip side of that, you know that those that are involved are there for the right reasons and that they are genuine. There are not there for notoriety, a piece of kit or a holiday, they are there because they want to be there.
We’re still trying to expand the game, but unless you are one of the top nations the money is very scarce and you don’t really see any of it. If we are to expand and pick up the quality of Rugby League across the nations, financially it should maybe be a bit more of an equal spread.

Louise Woodward-Styles: How on earth do you manage to eat all of that McDonalds and yet still look like the Maltese Trojan you are?
Good genes from my mum!
They help, but I do train hard and put my body through a blender. With what we do as a profession you need to be able to enjoy your food and enjoy what you do. Otherwise it becomes a bit robotic and you don’t get the best out of yourself if you having the same meals and following the same training programmes constantly.
McDonalds is a treat for me and I do eat it quite a lot. It probably doesn’t help that I have a 24-hour McDonalds at the end of my road.
I love the apple pies as well so usually when I go I stock up on a handful of those.

Dave Haselden: Has he been treated to a bowl of Lobby yet?
I haven’t. I have seen it everywhere but I wasn’t quite sure on what they were meaning behind it. I’m sure, in the near future, I’ll be getting amongst it and giving it a go.

@emma_tr4_rhinos: What is the one thing you always do after a good performance?
Have a McDonalds and a box of Krispy Kreme doughnuts. There’s not really anything non-food related I do after a game. If I’m not with my family I’m stuffing my face with food. I am a massive foodie, so I’d rather spend money on food than going out and doing something else.

DavidM: How much did you enjoy yourself at Town… was there any particular highlight?
I absolutely loved my time at Workington. The fans and the community are Rugby League mad and they really get behind you. Even just chatting to the fans in the street or at a game, you can see what Rugby League means to them and how passionate they are about the club and as a player you can feel that passion. My most memorable moments there were definitely the derby against Whitehaven. One in particular was when we had a player sent off in the first couple of minutes so played most of the game with 12 men. Right at the death, Jason Mossop crossed in the corner and I had the kick to win it.

Loz: What was the draw of joining Leigh?
Towards the back end of last year, opportunities at Wigan were few and far between, so the club were at a point where they had to make a decision on do they keep me on the sidelines in case they need me, or there is a team like Leigh that have come in and shown an interest in me because they want to win promotion. They asked for my services and the two clubs came to an agreement.
I am looking forward to it. I have been in the fight for promotion before and it’s something I get a great buzz out of. We have got a really good group around us and for us, if we’re not our own worst enemies, we can cause some real damage this year. We just need to stay fit and make sure we don’t get too caught up in the end goal. We just need to take it week by week and tick off those boxes.

JohnM: Good luck at Leigh. Personally, I’d have preferred that Wigan had used your talents more often in more games. Did that affect your decision to move on?
As a player, you want to play every minute of every game and when you’re not, you’re not happy. But you don’t stick your tail between your legs and sulk. You put your head down, train hard and do what’s best for the team. Then when your opportunity comes, you take it. It was just one of those things that I’d had an injury those opportunities didn’t come as often.
I had no dramas in backing my own ability and putting my head down and training hard, waiting for another opportunity. But the club had a different opinion and from a business side of things they couldn’t keep hold of me.

Barry Badrinath: Do you think it was daft of Wigan to let you go, now it seems that Jackson Hastings may not honour his contract?
I couldn’t tell you anything about the Hastings saga, but for a club for Wigan I think they’ll have had something in place prior to me leaving. Whether Jackson sees that contract through or not, Wigan will have something else planned. Even with the talent they have in house already in Jake Shorrocks, young Harry Smith and Tommy Leuluai, I don’t think they’ll be too bad off.

Eddie: How did you end up playing a game of union for Malta?
Malta is only a small island, so since we’ve had Rugby League running on the island, it’s not uncommon for some of the union lads to come down and play league, and vice versa.
The union coach sent me an email asking if I’d be interested to playing and I said ‘of course’.
I had played a bit of union in my younger days so it wasn’t a shock to the system. It was something I thoroughly enjoyed and I wouldn’t have said no to it. I loved the change of game, the new teammates and new surroundings. If I was to get called upon again to play union for Malta I would be more than happy to put my hands up.

@tweamryanhall: What is your favourite food to eat the night before a big competition?
Since I was about 16 or 17 I have always had spag bol for dinner the night before a game.
It has ventured from mum’s cooking to mine and over the years it has probably changed slightly, but without fail that’s what I will have the night before.

@amy_essexgal: What do you do to calm your butterflies while you compete?
I don’t normally get butterflies in the build up to games, but if I do it’s when I arrive at the ground and I am just walking around the pitch and running scenarios through my head.
I just listen to music and try to get lost in that. I don’t want to focus too much too early on the game because you can get yourself too worked up and then when the game kicks off you’ve wasted all your energy on stressing and being nervous.

Mr Plow: Biggest tattoo regret?
No tattoo regrets at all, and I am looking forward to getting some more. I still have a bit to get finished on my chest and then once that’s finished I’ll be looking at getting a big Maltese piece on my back.

This feature appears in Rugby League World, Issue 465 (Jan 2020) on sale now. Click here to find out what else is in the mag and where to get it.