Twelve Cook Islands rugby league players took part in the Auckland Nines competition at the weekend with seven being members of the Cook Islands World Cup squad 2013.
Regular NRL team mates Dominique Peyroux (New Zealand Warriors), Zane Tetevano (Newcastle Knights), Brad Takairangi (Gold Coast) and Isaac John (Penrith Panthers) are all looking good to secure their position in the NRL starting line-up for their clubs this season after a very good performance at the World Cup and the Nines at the weekend.
Dylan Napa (Roosters) who after a handful of NRL games last year looks to cement himself as a regular starting line-up for the Roosters alongside Sonny Bill Williams after a good performance at the World Cup and the Nines.
Drury Low (Bulldogs) showed some glimpse of his speed at the Nines and hopes to secure a place in the starting line-up for the Bulldogs.
Tupou Sopoaga took the field at the Nines and is hoping to be in the starting line-up for the Sharks this year with team mate and young rising star Valentine Holmes.
The 18-year old star Valentine Holmes is already mixing it with the big boys and showed strength to crash through the middle of the Gold Coast defence then a sizzling display of speed to out-run the cover defence on a long distance sprint to the try line.
He was playing at standoff, a position that was certainly found wanting in the Cook’s World Cup squad.
Providing he stays on track and doesn’t get poached by the Kiwis or the Aussies he will certainly be a lethal combination alongside Isaac John in the halves for the next World Cup campaign.
Kenny Edwards (Parramatta Eels) made a few appearances for the Eels last year but wasn’t available for selection to the World Cup due to personal commitment but hopes to cement a place in the top side this year after a good performance at the Nines.
His Eels team mate Peni Terepo opted to play for Tonga at the World Cup but was very disappointed that he didn’t even get a game at the World Cup and is now contemplating his future commitment to either stay with Tonga or join the Cooks.
He was in devastating form at the Nines and hopes to secure a permanent position in the starting line-up for the Eels.
Alex Glenn of Brisbane played for the Cooks in 2010 against the New South Wales Country side and opted to play for the Kiwis at the World Cup and was again in devastating form at the Nines.
James Tamou (Queensland Cowboys) was, perhaps, a bit unlucky in not winning the player of the tournament. He wanted to play for the Cooks against the New Zealand Kiwis in 2011 when the Kiwis called the tour off.
However, he has since gone from strength to strength and now is a regular second rower in the Kangaroo squad.
Cook Islands Rugby League president Charles Carlson says it’s great to see Cook Islands players taking part in professional tournaments.
“It was awesome to see our Cook Islands players playing in these professional tournaments and also be outstanding role models for our youngsters to look up to as we continue to develop the game among the juniors,” says Carlson.