Seagulls' rising star savours his Test debut
RUGBY LEAGUE: Ryan Flintham played the full 80 minutes for the Malta Knights in their 48-16 win over Hungary at the weekend.
While his Yeppoon Seagulls teammates were on their end-of-season trip to Airlie Beach, Flintham was in the thick of the action in the second-tier Test match at Cabramatta's New Era Stadium.
The 18-year-old qualifies for Malta through his paternal grandmother's heritage.
While unsure what position he would be playing, Flintham was told at the captain's run on Friday night that he would start in the No.7 jersey, the position he has made his own at the Seagulls and the CQ Capras under-20s.
"It was such a good experience,” the rising star said.
"I was pretty happy when they told me I would be playing the whole game at halfback.
"It was good quality footy and it was great to slot in there and do my bit.
"I think Hungary were the bigger team but our side was pretty physical, defended strongly and matched up well on their big fellas.”
The Knights quickly found the form they produced in their 24-all draw with the World Cup-bound Italy the week before.
They kept Hungary scoreless in the first half and, despite conceding points early in the second half, finished the game strongly.
Flintham had just the one training session with the Knights but said the players and coaching staff were very welcoming.
"They were a really good bunch of blokes and I didn't feel out of place at all.
"They had different names for different plays so it was just a matter of learning them.
"They explained things well and kept the instructions pretty simple which allowed me to just go out and do my job.
"I think I did my part, I did what I needed to do.”
Flintham is hopeful that Saturday's Test will not be his only appearance in the red and white jersey.
"Hopefully I get another run with them in the future,” he said.
"It's a pretty good feeling to be asked to play with an international team.
"I can say I'm pretty happy with myself and it's certainly given me some confidence.”
Flintham will enjoy a couple of weeks' break before he's back into pre-season training.