Eight teams keen on Nines meet

Monday November 13, 2017 Written by Published in League

Eight teams are expected to take part in the 2018 Cook Islands Rugby League Nines Tournament at the BCI Stadium in Nikao.


The annual tournament, which started last year, will be held on January 5 and 6.

Cook Islands Rugby League competition coordinator Taua Benioni said they would have a meeting on Monday next week to finalise the teams.

He said they were expecting eight Cook Islands teams including Aitutaki Sharks, and an overseas team to compete

The remaining six teams will include defending champions Avatiu Nikao Eels, Tupapa Panthers, TKV Warriors, Titikaveka Bulldogs, Ngatangiia/Matavera Sea Eagles and Arorangi Bears.

“We have received interest from the Queensland Cookies side and they are willing to come over for next year’s tournament,” Benioni said.

“We are in discussion with Malcolm Uri of the Cookies team and hoping to receive their confirmation by the Monday meeting.” Benioni said the tournament was vital for teams playing in the domestic league as it helped them prepare for the weekly competition.

He is hoping the Sharks who couldn’t make the past two tournaments due to financial constraints, would confirm their participation for the 2018 event.

“It is an important tournament and we would like all the league clubs in the country to participate in this,” Benioni said.

“The inclusion of the Sharks will surely boost the level of competition and also help them set a platform for the 2018 domestic competition.

“It is also to encourage our players to get into the game by giving them more opportunities to compete. 

“So we hope come Monday, we will get some positive response from the Sharks team.”

The competition will be held in a round robin format, with clubs likely to play about nine games each before the finals.

Entry fee is $500 per team and Benioni said the participating teams are guaranteed their money back as there will be prize money for all teams, regardless of their finishing positions.

“It will be two days of hard rugby league with lot of action, so the onus is now on the teams to prepare themselves well.

“We have also made a rule whereby a team which defaults its game will automatically lose its place in the tournament, which means they will not be eligible to collect any prize money.”

Benioni said teams would also be allowed to register four foreign players in the tournament. The clubs could acquire the services of those players any time during the domestic competition, he added.

Meanwhile, Benioni has also confirmed the tournament has acquired sponsorship from Bluesky, Rhodes Building System and Predrill Australia.

Organisers are currently negotiating with other sponsors.                     

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