Three-way battle to be minor premiers

Friday April 21, 2017 Written by Published in League
Tupapa Panthers and Titikaveka Bulldogs, alongside defending champions Avatiu Nikao Eels, are leading the battle for the minor premiership title. 17042021 Tupapa Panthers and Titikaveka Bulldogs, alongside defending champions Avatiu Nikao Eels, are leading the battle for the minor premiership title. 17042021

A thrilling three rounds of matches remain before the winner of the minor premiership in the 2017 domestic rugby league competition will be decided.


There are three teams running for the title which will be given to the team that finishes on top of the points table after the preliminary rounds before the competition heads into the semifinals.

Current point leaders Tupapa Panthers remain the top bet with 13 points from nine matches – six wins, two losses and a draw.

Closely following in second place are the Titikaveka Bulldogs who are on 12 points from six wins and three losses.

Defending champions Avatiu Nikao Eels are within the striking distance on 11 points after recording five wins, three losses and a draw from their nine matches.

Arorangi Bears, who have played an extra match, are in fourth spot with eight points. The side won three matches, drew two and lost five from the 10 matches they have played.

Aitutaki Sharks, thanks to the consecutive wins against Eels and Takuvaine Warriors, are in fifth spot with six points from three wins and six losses.

Ngatangiia/Matavera Sea Eagles are placed in sixth spot with four points.

The side has five wins, three losses and two draws, but lost eight points in round one after Cook Islands Rugby League Association (CIRLA) found them in breach of competition rules.

Warriors are placed at the bottom of the points table with four points after winning two matches from nine they played so far.

Competition co-ordinator Taua Benioni predicts an exciting finish to the season in a three-way battle for the top spot.

He said Panthers, Bulldogs and the Eels all have equal chances to win the minor premiership.

“It comes down to the top three now and all their remaining matches becomes a must win for them. Eels have been winning the title for a couple of years now and it will be interesting to see whether they retain it this year,” Benioni said.

“While for the other teams, they will still be battling to finish in the top four for their spot in the semifinals.”

This weekend’s matches to be played tomorrow will see only the Rarotonga-based teams in action with the Sharks on a bye.

In the feature match of the round, leaders Panthers will head to The Swamp to battle against the Eels.

It’s a must-win for both sides if they want to lay their hands on the minor premiership.

In the other tough battle, the Bears will host the Bulldogs at Raemaru Park.

The Meti Noovao-coached Bulldogs will have a perfect opportunity to maintain the thrust and may be go top of the table with a win tomorrow.

Sea Eagles will need a must win against the Warriors at home in the other premier battle in order to remain in the run for a top-four spot.

            - Rashneel Kumar


Today: Ngatangiia – 5pm Reserves Ngatangiia-Takuvaine (Referee Willy Taripo, Touch judges: Paul Peyroux/Teariki Peyroux)

Tomorrow: Ngatangiia – 4.30pm Premiers: Ngatangiia-Takuvaine (Referee: June Henry, Touch Judges: Paul Allsworth/Paul Peyroux, Bench officials: Jeff Murray/Tai Nelio); Avatiu – 3pm Reserves: Avatiu-Tupapa (Referee: Poso Ngaroi, Touch judges: William Taripo/ Bishop Bishop), 4.30pm Premiers:  Avatiu-Tupapa (Referee: Tua Manea, Touch judges: William Taripo/Bishop Bishop, Bench officials: Simi Teiotu/Papa Pat); Arorangi – 1pm Under 11 (Club official), 1.45pm U13 (Dawn Crummer), 3pm U19s Arorangi-Ngatangiia (Referee Pete Robertson, Touch judges: Koa Kopu/Dawn Crummer), 4.30pm Premiers Arorangi-Titikaveka (Referee: Nga Takaiti, Touch judges: Koa Kopu/Pete Robertson, Bench officials: Dawn/ Pio)

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