Do-or-die for Eels, Bears

Saturday May 18, 2019 Written by Published in League

Avatiu Nikao Eels coach Meti Noovao is calling on his players to “man up” and deliver in today’s crucial clash against Arorangi Bears at BCI Stadium in Nikao.

 

The two teams will battle it out for a place in next week’s Raro Cars Rugby League Competition 2019 semi-final.

The Bears finished a place above the Eels on third and will march into this match as the favourites. They also won both times when the two teams met in the preliminary rounds of the competition.

Noovao accepted the Bears will have the psychological advantage, adding they preferred their underdog status heading into the clash.

He expects a tough challenge but remains optimistic of a favourable outcome.

“We need all the players who we select to come onboard and man up and give 100 per cent,” Noovao said.

“We need to stay composed under pressure. We expect the Bears to come out hard on us but we need to hit them with the right attitude and determination.

“This is do-or-die. This is our last chance and we have to treat it like that. Like I have said throughout this season, it’s all about getting the basics right, ball security, completing our sets and keeping the pressure on them throughout the whole 80 minutes.”

The Eels were on bye while the Bears played Ngatangiia Matavera Sea Eagles in the final round of the preliminary competition last weekend.

Noovao believes the match fitness the Bears gained from the Sea Eagles match would serve as an advantage for them.

“Surely they would have gained from that clash in terms of the match fitness but that’s no excuse at this time of the year.

“We actually seem to peak at the right time of the season. It’s been a really bumpy season and we have us, the players and the management to blame for this.

“It’s our fault the way we have been going around blaming on things (when we lose) other than focusing on us.”

Noovao is calling on supporters to come out in numbers and rally behind the team in its bid to make the showdown.

The winner of this clash will take the loser of the Sea Eagles versus the Tupapa Panthers match which was held yesterday. The match was still underway when this edition went to print last night.

 

Fixtures

11.15am U9/11 Tupapa Panthers-Nga/Mat Sea Eagles, 11.15am U9/11 Arorangi Bears-Avatiu Eels, 12pm U13 Tupapa Panthers-Nga/Mat Sea Eagles (1&2), 12.55pm U13 Arorangi Bears-Avatiu Eels (3&4), 1.50pm U16 Tupapa Panthers-Nga/Mat Sea Eagles (1&2), 2.55pm Reserves Avatiu Eels-Nga/Mat Sea Eagles (3&4), 4.30pm Premiers Arorangi Bears-Avatiu Eels (3&4); Monday (at Victoria Park) – 5pm Reserves Tupapa Panthers-Titikaveka Bulldogs (1&2)

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