Rugby League Kicks On in Turkey

As, for the first time, a Turkish national side gets set to play, a magnificent display from man of the match and Kadıkov Bulls’ full-back, Alican Acar – who crossed for five of his team’s 13 tries – saw his side triumph 66-14 in the first-ever Turkish Rugby League Grand Final.

The unbeaten Bulls took the trophy at the Maltepe Stadium in Istanbul, Bulls’ centre, Aykut Kanaclar also claiming a hat trick, Eren Kemal Sen grabbing a brace of touchdowns, and Onur Ersoy, Doruk Celiktutan and Taylan Kokuroglu crossing for a try apiece, while Behzad Jalili kicked their seven goals.

“It was much higher quality match than I expected,” commented Doruk Kelictutan, captain of the Kadıkov Bulls. “It shows the huge potential we have here, even though this is the first time we have ever held such a competition in Turkey. All our teams have improved with each game they’ve played.”

Bull’ coach, Julien Treu, the instigator of the competition added: “I would like to congratulate all teams who took part of this first rugby league championship. The fixtures were all fulfilled and we had some very exciting matches. Thanks need to go to everybody involved because people worked very hard behind the scenes, and a successful final is the result of their hard work.

“We believe rugby league has a big potential future in Turkey. We have come a long way and we will do our best to keep it up.”

Defeated opposition side, Eskisehir Aqua, never gave up, with tries were posted for them by Abdullah Kaptan, centre Selçuk Cömert (who also kicked a goal), and Selim Özdemir.

“This season was a great experience for all Turkish teams,” noted Aqua full-back and skipper, Emin Erden, “and believe next year will be even more competitive, with more sides participating. Kadıkov played today with the quality of a European team.”

Jovan Vujosevic, RLEF Central & Eastern Europe, regional director noted: “The Turkish Rugby League Association has now met all the criteria for acceptance of observer membership. That is huge progress in less than a year. They will host the GB Student Pioneers next season, and a Turkish national side will play in both the Belgrade Euro 9s in June, and the Balkan Cup in October, alongside Serbia, Greece, Turkey and Bulgaria so far confirmed.”