After escaping the claws of Tupapa Panthers last week, defending champions Avatiu Nikao Eels will be hoping to overcome Titikaveka Bulldogs in the feature premier match at The Swamp today.
The do-or-die match for both teams in their race for the top place finish is expected to be a tense affair especially with the Bulldogs winning in their last meeting at Teimurimotia Park.
Eels will be hoping to return the favour at home and in doing so, jump to the top spot ahead of the final round next week.
The Bulldogs who are currently leading the points table will be determined to snarl away the Eels in their bid to win the minor premiership.
The team’s performance in round two competition has been intimidating and the Meti Noovao-coached side will be hoping to use that form to invoke the fear in the Eels brigade.
“We’ve been taking it as it comes but our determination and attitude has been with us big time during training this week especially with everybody out of injury mode. We are ready for the Eels,” Bulldogs No.1 fan George Hosking said.
Eels remain defiant and adamant of a better performance than their round-one outing.
“The Bulldogs will give it to us like everyone else and we’re ready. We trained well and prepared well. It’s not over yet, the worst is yet to come,” Eels adviser Big Bob Taripo said.
CIRLA competition co-ordinator Taua Benioni said they expect an intense battle between the two giants,
“It’s obvious the tension is there and CIRLA expects that during this time. For the next two weekends, rugby league supporters will be out in numbers around the island and that’s great,” he said.
“Normally we would know who our contenders are for the top four spot but in this case it’s all dependent on next week’s results. Panthers, Bulldogs and Eels will fight it out (today) to prepare for another round of encounter next week to confirm the top three positions.
“The Bears sits comfortably in fourth spot due to the Sea Eagles having points stripped earlier on in the competition and also this week being the Eagles last match for the round.”
In the other premier match, Panthers will host Takuvaine Warriors at Victoria Park.
Avatiu – 2pm U11s Eels-Bears (Referee: William Taripo), 2.30pm U13s Bears-Eels (Referee: William Taripo), 3pm Reserves Avatiu-Titikaveka (Referee: June Henry, Touch judges: Allan Nanai/William Taripo), 5pm Premiers Avatiu-Titikaveka (Referee: Nga Takaiti, Touch judges: Pete Robertson/Dawn Crummer, Bench: Papa Pat/Simi Teiotu); Tupapa – 4.30pm Premiers Tupapa-Takuvaine (Referee: Poso Ngaroi, Touch judges: Bishop Bishop/Koa Kopu, Bench: Pius Mitchell/Tua Manea).