Eagles battle, Eels win big

Monday February 13, 2017 Written by Published in League
Logan Perenise on the charge for the Sea Eagles. Logan Perenise on the charge for the Sea Eagles.

As expected the feature match of the domestic rugby league competition over the weekend between the Ngatangiia/Matavera Sea Eagles and Titikaveka Bulldogs was a cracker.

Both teams went into the match with their tails high and played to a tit-for-tat battle in which the Sea Eagles eventually triumphed 22-18 at Nukupure Park on Saturday.

The Kaka Ama-coached Sea Eagles - after opening the season with a 32-2 win over the Tupapa Panthers - started the match on a high, taking the lead in the opening quarter.

But the Meti Noovao-mentored Bulldogs had other ideas and kept the score within the reach heading into the break.

Bulldogs were dominant in the second spell, eventually taking the lead.

Sea Eagles made a gallant comeback and levelled the match 18-all, heading into the final quarter.

In an intense final 10 minutes of the match, a defiant Sea Eagles managed to sneak in with the winning try to take the 22-18 lead.

Bulldogs fought tooth and nail, but were unable to score as the Sea Eagles soared once more to keep their 2017 league competition campaign on track.

“The Ngatangiia versus Titikaveka premiers was an excellent game and went right down to the wire,” Cook Islands Rugby League official John Whitta said.

“Tough, fast, with each team having their periods of dominance and lapses in concentration. Ngatangiia had to really fight back to take the win.”

In the other premier clash, defending champions Avatiu Nikao Eels started off their campaign with a boisterous 38-10 win over the Takuvaine Warriors at the Happy Valley.

The Warriors, after their 23-22 win over the Arorangi Bears, looked sharp and kept within reach of the Eels in the opening spell. But the Eels were much stronger in the second half and rained tries to claim the 38-10 win.

“Its early days, but I think the condition of the field didn’t help. The paddock was pretty heavy and I think the boys are just a bit game unfit but everything looks pretty good,” Eels coach Albert Nicholas said.

“We got a couple of Under-16 boys that we blooded and I’m happy with this performance. It was pretty gutsy. It looks good for the rest of the season, but there were a few mistakes. I think we are on a right track.”

Nicholas hailed the Warriors for putting up a brave fight.

Rugby commentator George George reckons the Warriors were too dependent on their game players hoping they would bounce back.

Meanwhile the Bears defeated Aitutaki Sharks 18-14 in the lone premier clash on Friday.

In the reserves, Eels thumped the Warriors 52-18 while the Sea Eagles overcame Bulldogs 30-16.

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