Arorangi Bears defeated Ngatangiia Matavera Sea Eagles 22-20 in a close premier men’s match at Raemaru Park on Saturday. LOSIRENE LACANIVALU/21032804
The domestic rugby league competition heads into a week break providing teams with a perfect opportunity to recover before entering the crucial half of the weekly meet in May.
Avatiu Nikao Eels premier men’s side has taken the lead in
the 2021 Raro Cars Rugby League Competition.
The Clive Nicholas-coached side shrugged off a disappointing
loss to unbeaten Tupapa Panthers a week ago to record a comprehensive win in
the opening match of round two over the weekend.
The Eels thumped Aitutaki Sharks 40-10 at The Swamp on
Friday. The win puts the side in the driving seat on 13 points from five
matches – four wins and a loss.
The Panthers who were on a bye and have a match in hand have
12 points followed by Arorangi Bears on 11. The Bears defeated defending
champions Ngatangiia Matavera Sea Eagles 22-20 at Raemaru Park on Saturday.
The Sharks are placed fourth on four points followed by the
Sea Eagles also on four points.
Eels coach Nicholas said heading into a two week break at
the top of the competition points table was a bonus for the team.
The side will be on bye when competition resumes next
“We are motivated that we are the competition leaders
heading into this Easter break. No offence to other teams but everyone knows
there are two teams really vying for the title this year and then we have Arorangi
Bears who are the darkhorse. They are a strong team and have lost to us and
Tupapa, we managed to scrape through with a win so we are wary of the Bears as
well.” Nicholas said.
“But being competition leaders doesn’t determine what will
happen next month, we need to work harder to maintain our placing in the
Nicholas said the 20-34 loss against the Panthers was a
wake-up call for the team.
“We watched the game (against the Panthers) and agreed we
lost fair and square. The things that stood out as major concerns were our
attitude and lack of discipline.
“We all trained hard, prepared well for the game but forgot
to leave our egos at the gate. Tupapa came out hungry, we were hungrier but we
took the wrong attitude when we responded to their attack. We committed some
stupid errors including three yellow cards and two of Tupapa’s tries were due
to our mistakes.”
Against the winless Sharks, Nicholas fielded some of their
reserves and under-19 players.
The team also worked on their weaknesses and managed to come
away with the 40-10 win.
“It was a good win and quite timely too. We got two weeks
break, we’re on a bye next weekend and it’s a good time to assess where we are
and fix those niggling injuries the boys are carrying after some tough round
“Also having Albert (Nicholas) and Meti (Noovao) has helped
a lot too, we agree on many things and disagree on some and its good to get
that feedback from these two.”
Cook Islands Rugby League secretary Francis Toa confirmed
the competition will take a weekend off and return next week with game two in
However, the postponed premier men’s match between the
Sharks and the Sea Eagles will be played this Thursday at Nukupure Park,
starting at 4.45pm.