The national netball team played a dominating and energetic game against Vanuatu on Monday night disposing of the netball minnows 71-20.
The local side took control of the game from the first whistle to stifle Vanuatu who could only manage two goals in the first quarter while Cook Islands shooters Ana Salanoa and long ranger shooter Courtney Capper potted 18 goals for their team.
At midcourt, robotics engineer student centre Jasmine Forbes at centre and agile wing attack Moana Glassie were in electric form driving the ball to their goal and hustling on defence.
In the defence circle, captain Luciana Matenga and Tehani Buchanan were a match made in defence heaven.
The physically stronger Cooks team put body on the line with Ashley Iro proving a handful for Vanuatu at wing defence.
The Cooks continued their dominance in the second quarter 36-7 before coach Dale Atkinson took the opportunity to bring on her reserves bench who proved just as able on court with the Cooks extending their lead to 53-14 before finishing off Vanuatu 71-20.
The Cooks game was far from perfect but there is no denying the young side’s desire to raise the status of Cook Islands netball.
Matenga says she was proud of her young sides performance against Vanuatu and Tonga the night before in their warm up game.
“I’m very happy and proud of the way the girls played – especially four or five debutants in the team,” says Matenga.
The Black Pearls as they are known will now face Pacific netball powerhouse Fiji on Wednesday night (Tuesday CI time) and Matenga says they will be taking advantage of their ‘unknowns’ tag.
“Being a new team, our opponents don’t really know what we have, even I don’t know what these young players have up their sleeves so that’s a plus for us.”