It was a tough semi-final match up for the women’s team, who met hosts Samoa yesterday morning. Despite the rain, a large crowd of locals gathered at St. Joseph’s College to cheer on their national side.
The Cook Islanders were favourites heading into the game, after defeating Samoa 6-4 in their last match of round-robin play. However, the Samoans managed to make some adjustments following the loss, which were enough to overcome the Cook Islanders 3-5 in the semi-final.
“They turned up to play this morning, it was a different team to yesterday. A few decisions didn’t go our way, but we can’t put all the blame on the refs. We didn’t stick to our systems and Samoa pulled off a good win,” said team coach Johnis Atai.
In their bronze medal final, the Cook Islanders came up against a tough Fijian outfit. It was a thrilling match up, with the two teams drawing five-all in their round robin match. It was a back and forth tussle, with the scores tied at four-all heading into the halftime break. Unfortunately for the Cook Islands, Fiji managed to pull away in the second half, ending up 6-5 winners.
“It was try for try…But Fiji were just a bit [more] eager and a bit stronger in the second half,” Atai said.
Meanwhile, the men’s team started their final day of competition with a classy display against Tokelau, coming away 15-4 victors in what was the last match of round robin play for the team.
The men also met hosts Samoa in their semi-final, heading into the match as slight favourites after defeating them 8-6 in round robin play. It was once again a tough game for the Cook Islanders, with the match going to a drop off after the scores were drawn 12-all at the end of regulation. Samoa managed to score first, ending the Cook Islander’s hopes of a shot at the gold.
“That’s the nature of the game, that tit-for-tat…We took them right to the edge, we just got a few bad calls that didn’t go our way,” said the team’s player-coach Geoff Halston.
Like the women, the team met Fiji in their bronze medal final. Fiji struck first with an intercept leading to the opening touchdown of the game. It was another back and forth match, with Fiji heading into the break as 6-4 leaders. The Cook Islanders came out strong in the second half, but their efforts proved futile, as the Fijians ran away with the game, ending up 9-6 winners.