Eleven years on from his NYC grand final match-winning heroics, former Vodafone Junior Warriors halfback Jordan Meads will lead Greece in its Rugby League World Cup debut in the United Kingdom next month.
The unheralded Greeks are drawn in the same group as host nation England, Toa Samoa and France.
To reach the Rugby League World Cup for the first time, they faced Scotland and Serbia in qualifying, losing to the Scots before beating the Serbians 82-6 to book their spot in the 16-team tournament.
Now 30 Meads, of Greek descent on his mother’s side, has been been playing rugby union in Queensland more recently but has played rugby league in France, England and Queensland.
He may yet have a NRL premiership winner alongside him in the halves in the shape of South Sydney halfback Lachlan Ilias; the Rabbitohs take on the Panthers this weekend for a spot in the grand final.
Three other players with NRL experience are former Cronulla-Sutherland second rower Billy Magoulias, Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs prop Billy Tsikrikas and South Sydney Rabbitohs hooker Peter Mamouzelos.
A Greek international since 2014, Meads will always have a place in Vodafone Warriors folklore after slotting a clutch field goal in golden point extra time to give the club a 31-30 victory over the North Queensland. Meads was named the player of the match on a day when the Vodafone Warriors had the distinction of fielding teams in each of the three grand finals at ANZ Stadium.
While Meads didn’t go on to break into the NRL he was a key contributor in the 2011 NYC season when the Vodafone Junior Warriors were on another level, routinely pounding opposition sides including a 64-0 win over Canterbury Bankstown in the preliminary final. They finished the season five points clear of the Cowboys and scored a staggering 851 points.
Of the 17 players the Vodafone Junior Warriors fielded in the grand final, 12 went on to play in the NRL – Omar Slaimankhel, Adam Henry, Sosaia Feki, Konrad Hurrell, Carlos Tuimavave, Ligi Sao, Sam Lousi, Ben Henry, Sebastine Ikahihifo, Siliva Havili, Agnatius Paasi and Sio Siua Taukeiaho.
Winger D J Collier returned to rugby union establishing himself in the New Zealand Sevens team winning gold at the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, silver at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and bronze at the 2022 Birmingham Commonwealth Games.
GREECE TITANS | 2022 RUGBY LEAGUE WORLD CUP
JORDAN MEADS (Sunshine Coast) captain
LACHLAN ILIAS (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
STEFANOS BASTAS (Coventry Bears)
NIKOLAOS BOSMOS (Rhodes Knights)
TERRY CONSTANTINOU (Sunbury Tigers)
ARIS DARDAMANIS (Aris Eagles)
NICK FLOCAS (Ipswich Jets)
MYLES GAL (Sunshine Coast Falcons)
JAKE KAMBOS (Wests Magpies)
KOSTA KATSIDONIS (Rhodes Knights)
GREG KOUTSIMPORGIORGOS (Aris Eagles)
BILLY MAGOULIAS (Newtown Jets)
PETER MAMOUZELOS (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
JOHN MITSIAS (Wests Magpies)
NICK MOUGIOS (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
THODORIS NIANIAKAS (Woolston Rovers)
IOANNIS NAKE (Aris Eagles)
CHAISE ROBINSON (South Sydney Rabbitohs)
IOANNIS ROUSOGLOU (Aris Eagles)
SEBASTIAN SELL (Mittagong Lions)
LIAM SUE-TIN (TBC)
VASILI TSIKRIKAS (Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs)
ROBERT TULIATU (London Broncos)
ADAM VRAHNOS (London Broncos)
MITCHELL ZAMPETIDES (Wests Magpies)
Head coach | Steve Georgallis