Tupapa Panthers’ Jeremy Campbell breaks away from Ngatangiia Matavera Sea Eagles defenders at Nukupure Park on Saturday. The Panthers smashed the Sea Eagles 84-8. Photo: LOSIRENE LACANIVALU
Undefeated Avatiu Nikao Eels and Tupapa Panthers will meet today in a top of the table clash at The Swamp.
The premier men’s clash in round five of the
Raro Cars Rugby League Competition is expected to be a tense affair.
Both teams have defeated the other clubs
competing in the weekly 13s competition – they include defending champions
Ngatangiia-Matavera Sea Eagles, Arorangi Bears and Aitutaki Sharks.
Eels coach/player Clive Nicholas said they are
bracing for a tough challenge from the former champions.
“We have been waiting for this game and as the
coach/player I want to see where our boys stand. We all know what Tupapa has
got to offer, they got a good coach (Darren Piri) and I have a lot of respect
for him, having played under him and alongside him.”
The Eels have received a major boost ahead of
today’s clash. Former Titikaveka Bulldogs players Longo Leuta and Teariki
Matenga Jr will make their debut for the Eels against the Panthers today.
“We have lost about five of our young players
the likes of Genesis Piri, Arona Ngari Jr, Adyn Kapi and one of our young
player KC Kora broke his hand during training so it’s a big setback,” Nicholas
“We are pleased to have the services of Longo
and Teariki, they will surely add the experience we need in the team.”
Panthers coach Darren Piri said the rivalry
between the two teams “is one not to be missed”.
“We have to come up with a different game plan
against Avatiu in order to overcome them. It’s an important match and we have
to work hard as a team to come away with the win.”
Eels-Panthers, 3pm Reserves Eels-Panthers,
4.30pm Premier Eels-Panthers. NOTE: Sea Eagles reserves have confirmed they no
longer have a reserve grade for the season. Sea Eagles prem’s on bye. Bears
reserves on bye. Sea Eagles/Bears U19s on BYE (to equal up draw in U19s). Note:
Sea Eagles/Bears Jnr Development on bye (as per request by Sea Eagles and
confirmation from Bears).