Ngatangiia Matavera Sea Eagles’ unbeaten run is at stake in the much anticipated round three rugby league battle against Avatiu Eels today.
The much anticipated clash was supposed to be held at The Swamp but due to bad ground condition, it has been shifted to Nukupure Park in Muri.
The Sea Eagles, who are the reigning Raro Cars Rugby League champions, are unbeaten from the start of the 2019 season.
In their first match this season, the side from Muri scrapped past Titikaveka Bulldogs 28-26 in a closely contested match a week ago at Teimurimotia Park.
The Eels also had a tough start to their 2020 campaign after a hard-fought 26-23 win over Arorangi Bears in round one competition a fortnight ago.
The team was on bye last weekend where they had the opportunity to regroup, work on their weak areas and come back stronger for the crucial match this weekend.
Eels veteran Clive Nicholas said the team faced a major setback after losing coach Meti Noovao, who has decided to take a break this season.
Teokotai ‘Billy Bush’ Tuaivi was appointed the new coach but he is still under suspension for an incident last year.
The team officials led by their manager are assigned to bark out orders on the game day.
Nicholas, who coached the Eels to Nines Tournament final last month, said he wanted to focus on playing rather than taking up the dual role of coach/player.
He said despite the setbacks, they were optimistic of a good outing this season.
“We had a good start this year at the Nines where we made the final after losing out in the semis in the past years. Things are looking good for us,” Nicholas said.
“We have the same boys from the past season and we may be bringing some firepower from overseas but nothing is confirmed.”
The Eels have a good mix of Cook Islands, Fijian and Samoan players, most of who have been playing for the club for the past couple of seasons.
The Sea Eagles after a rusty start last week will head into today’s match as an underdog against a superior looking Eels outfit. But they have proven a force to reckon with at their home ground and will no doubt come out firing to maintain their superb winning streak alive.
In the other premier match today, Arorangi Bears will host Titikaveka Bulldogs at Raemaru Park.
The Bears have lost both of their matches after going down to Tupapa Panthers 18-44 last week. The Bulldogs have also lost both their matches after they were earlier beaten by the Panthers 52-26 in round one.
The Panthers, who are on a bye this weekend, are leading the points table with two wins.
Raemaru Park – 4.30pm Premiers Arorangi Bears-Titikaveka Bulldogs; Nukupure Park 1.10pm U10/12 Avatiu Eels-Nga/Mat Sea Eagles (Play half field), 2pm U14 Avatiu Eels-Nga/Mat Sea Eagles, 3pm Reserves Avatiu Eels-Nga/Mat Sea Eagles, 4.30pm Premiers Avatiu Eels-Nga/Mat Sea Eagles; Bye Tupapa Panthers