Tupapa Panthers favoured in premier playoff

Thursday May 17, 2018 Written by Published in League

The Tupapa Panthers are the favourites in the top two preliminary playoff tomorrow at the BCI Stadium.

The side will take on former champions Avatiu Nikao Eels in the battle for a spot in the final, to be held in a fortnight.

Cook Islands Rugby League Association competition manager Taua Benioni said judging from the recent form of the two teams, the Panthers were the clear favourites against the Eels.

The Eels have suffered a dip in form in their last two preliminary round matches but cannot be underestimated, especially in the knockout stage.

Benioni said the match would come down to the team getting their basics right and sticking to the rules of the game.

He said the Panthers were a more disciplined side, as seen in their last two meetings.

The opening match between the two teams at Victoria Park ended in a draw and in the second match at The Swamp, the Panthers managed a 31-13 win to end Eels’ unbeaten streak.

Meanwhile, Benioni has picked defending champions Titikaveka Bulldogs to prevail in the do-or-die 3rd/4th playoff.

The Bulldogs will take on Ngatangiia Matavera Sea Eagles on Saturday and the winner of the match will play the loser of Panthers versus Eels for a place in the grand finale.  

 

Fixtures 

Friday: 4.30pm Tupapa Panthers-Avatiu Nikao Eels.

Saturday: 11am Junior development; 1.30pm Premier Reserves Arorangi Bears-Titikaveka Bulldogs; 3pm Premier Reserves, Tupapa Panthers-Avatiu Nikao Eels; 4.30pm Premiers, Titikaveka Bulldogs-Ngatangiia Matavera Sea Eagles.

No game for U19s as the overall top of the table point’s leader (Arorangi Bears) go straight to the finals with the two remaining teams (Bulldogs and Sea Eagles) playing off in the semifinals on Saturday, May 26.

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