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Double delight for Kiria-Ratu’s in Cook Islands celebrations

Friday 20 October 2023 | Written by Supplied | Published in League, Sports


Double delight for Kiria-Ratu’s in Cook Islands celebrations
The Kiria-Ratu sisters, seated in front, are extremely popular within the Cook Islands Moana team. CIRL/23101928

There will be plenty of celebration in Cook Islands Moana camp this week for Kiria-Ratu sisters Chantay and Annemarie, regardless of how they go in Saturday's Test match against PNG (Cook Islands time).

The elder sibling by one year, Chantay – a star for the Titans in 2023 – celebrated her 19th birthday on Friday while Annemarie turns 18 today on the eve of her international debut in her side’s Pacific Championships clash against the Orchids.

The celebrations cap off a special week for the sisters with a special return to the field for Annemarie after spending more than a year on the sidelines with an ACL injury that threatened to rob her of the on-field delight of playing with her big sister.

“This one’s definitely a massive achievement for myself,” Annemarie said.

"Coming off my ACL injury that I did last year – I'm about 15 months post op – so it's pretty special to be playing one of my first games back with my sister Chantay.

“I’m looking forward to it and I’m just excited.

“We started off with touch from a young age. We were both always playing together and then we both moved to sevens, played a bit there and then. Now it’s been maybe three years that we've been playing rugby league together.

“Obviously I missed last year because of my ACL, so it’s excited to get back on the field with Chantay. This is my first international game and it is my first game back.”

One of the breakout stars of the NRLW competition, Chantay’s latest international appearance adds another big-game feather to her bow with the teenager already chalking up World Cup and under-19’s Origin experience in her young career.

The prospect of playing alongside her little sister, and celebrate their milestone week in camp together, might just top them all, however.

“It’s great, think getting to play for my nation is something very important and something special for my family, so I’m super excited,” she said.

“Coming down to PNG and playing in front of the people who love rugby league is great. I think that's something I’m looking forward to – playing in front of this crowd.

For Chantay, the match on Saturday at Santos National Football will be her first game since the narrow NRLW grand final loss to the Knights, with the half being one of five Gold Coast teens gaining huge experience from the decider.

“It was definitely exciting for myself because that’s my first year making a grand final, but coming away with the loss; that's something we can take away and take back to the drawing board and really work on it for next year,” she said.

“I think we took each other's experience and then really turned it into a team. The connection that we all had was something that really helped us get through that season.”

The Cook Islands Moana versus the Orchids game will kick off at 4.45pm tomorrow (Cook Islands time) followed by the Cook Islands Aitu versus the Fiji Bati clash.

  • Colleen Edwards/