The event held on the Labour Day holiday last week saw Cook Islands talent across all age groups from participating islands Mitiaro, Mangaia, Rarotonga, Manihiki, Atiu, Mauke, Rakahanga and Aitutaki.
Mangaia managed grand final spots in all the grades it competed – A and B men’s, women’s, open mixed and under-14s. The other grades played were U10s and U12s.
Darrell Papatua, the Mangaia sports coordinator, said: “The B men’s performed outstandingly with upcoming talent learning off from more experienced players. They maintained an undefeated run to win the division.”
The team led by Vaivase Samania, Conrad Piri and Mana Havi defeated Aitutaki to win the men’s B title.
The open mixed team showed same passion and were able to overcome the challenge to win their division.
But Mangaia’s men’s A and women’s open went down to Atiu teams in intense and very competitive finals.
Despite the setback, Mangaia managed top place overall to take the trophy home for the first time.
“The win has created a lot of positive signs within our little club in Victoria. But a lot of credit to the Cook Islands Sports Victoria community for making the day possible.”
Karoa Roi, the sports coordinator for Atiu, was pleased with the competitive level and talent in the daylong tournament.
“It was a good day of touch rugby from all our respected islands that participated, lot of talent from a lot of young men and women, including our older folks,” Roi said.
“It’s something that I’m proud of and willing to work with in our Cook Islands sports community here in Melbourne.”
Roi said such competitions helped them to get the young ones off the street and introduce them to play sports and be active.
“Really trying to get involved with our community. I love working with our children from all our Cook Islands community, not only in touch rugby but also in rugby league and other sports.
“The goal is to bring our people together and build a good foundation for our young men and women here.”
Rakahanga led by their president Ina Konito won the mixed grade. Manihiki was led by Alex Papatua and the Tepania brothers Simon and Isaia.
Team Rarotonga was made up of James Ngatoko and his children while Tokoa Tereapii spearheaded Mitiaro team’s campaign in the tournament.