The Brisbane-based side will be making its debut in the two-day tournament, bringing some international flavour to the fiercely-contested annual event.
Cook Islands Rugby League Association competition coordinator Taua Benioni said they were excited at the inclusion of the Queensland Kukis in the tournament, which will also feature six Rarotonga-based clubs. The team arrived into the country earlier this week. The side will take on defending champions Avatiu Nikao Eels in the opening match of the tournament at 12.30pm.
“They do not have any well-known players in their side except for five players who have been playing in the Queensland Cup, a tier below the NRL,” Benioni said.
“We are expecting some exciting skills from the Queensland Kukis and hoping their inclusion will increase the standard and intensity of the competition.” Benioni said local clubs had geared up well for the CIRLA Nines, which serve as a pre-season hit out for local clubs before the season proper starts next month.
He said there have been some interesting switch of players between the Rarotonga clubs.
“There is quite a bit of player movement in the local clubs and it will be interesting to see how they perform.”
The tournament will kick off with the junior competition, starting at 10am. Benioni said they had completed most of the preparation and were looking forward to two days of enthralling league battles at the BCI Stadium.
He thanked sponsors Bluesky, Vonnias, Raromart, CITC, Tourism Cook Islands, Edgewater, Polynesian Bike and Car Hire and others for their support.
- Rashneel Kumar
Day One – 12.30pm Queensland Kukis-Eels, 12.55pm Sea Eagles-Bulldogs, 1.20pm Warriors-Panthers, 1.45pm Bears-Queensland Kukis, 2.10pm Eels-Bulldogs, 2.35pm Panthers-Sea Eagles, 3.00pm Warriors-Bears, 3.25pm Queensland Kukis-Bulldogs, 3.50pm Eels-Sea Eagles, 4.15pm Panthers-Bears, 4.40pm Queensland Kukis-Warriors, 5.05pm Panthers-Bulldogs, 5.30pm Sea Eagles-Bears, 6.00pm Eels-Warriors; Day Two – 12.00pm Queensland Kukis-Sea Eagles, 12.25pm Panthers-Eels, 12.50pm Bulldogs-Bears, 1.15pm Sea Eagles-Warriors, 1.40pm Queensland Kukis-Panthers, 2.05pm Eels-Bears, 2.30pm Warriors-Bulldogs