Cook Islands fought their way back to within eight-points with halfback Lydia Turua-Quedley inspirational in defence, producing three superb try-savers at Santos National Football Stadium. NRL/23102207
A late surge from the Cook Islands Moana proved too late in their Pacific Championship clash against Papua New Guinea Orchids as the home side secured a gritty 28-20 victory in Port Moresby on Saturday.
losing their skipper Elsie Albert on game day, the Orchids rose to the occasion
in their inaugural Pacific Championship Test with a host of young forwards
showing a promising future ahead for the rising international side.
after trailing 28-10 with less than 25 minutes to play the Cook Islands fought
their way back to within eight-points with halfback Lydia Turua-Quedley
inspirational in defence, producing three superb try-savers at Santos National
was the Orchids who opened the scoring in the tenth minute when Roswita Kapo
scooted over from dummy half close to the line and got across for her side's
first try of the Pacific Championships. Emily Veivers' conversion made it 6-0
to the Orchids.
impressive break from Jazmon Tupou-Witchman then put the Cook Islands on the
front foot and the visitors went over in similar fashion with opposing No. 9
Chelsea Makira exploding out of dummy half to level the scores 6-6.
took the lead four minutes later when Cowboys forward Essay Banu carried four
Cook Island defenders over the tryline with her to make it 12-6.
Orchids went further ahead in the 23rd minute when halfback Ua Ravu put in a
well-weighted grubber for winger Lyiannah Allen to chase through and score.
arm wrestle continued when Moana halfback Turua-Quedley showed off her ball
playing skills, opening up an opportunity for Mahinaarangi Rewi down the short
side to reduce the deficit 16-10.
in the shadows of half time, PNG gave themselves some breathing room when
debutant Leila Kerowa did it all herself, with a show and go from close range
handing the home side a ten-point lead at halftime.
arm wrestle continued early in the second half but the Orchids all but put the
game to bed when halfback Ravu combined with her left edge to send Test debutant
Latoniya Norris-Addo over for a career first and hand Allen a double. The
Orchids had a 28-10 lead with 22 minutes to play.
Cook Islands continued to show plenty of heart to stay in the contest with NRLW
stars Chantay Kiria-Ratu combining with Kiana Takairangi in the 58th minute and
Chantelle Holloway-Samuels finishing off a nice right-side raid 28-20 was as
close as they came to overcoming PNG's early lead.
leader Elsie Albert was ruled out on game day after succumbing to an ongoing
calf injury. Sera Koroi and Belinda Gwasamun took over captaincy duties.
halfback Lydia Turua-Quedley was inspirational for her side in both attack and
defence with a try assists, two line break assists and 18 tackles.
fullback Latoniya Norris-Addo left the field in the 56th minute for a head
injury assessment and did not return.
Leila Kerowa was immense for the Orchids after being called up on game day with
three line breaks from 80 run metres in her 37-minute performance.
co-captain Belinda Gwasamun had a try, four tackle breaks and 59 post contact
metres in a player of the match performance.
of the Game
No. 19 on her back, forward Leila Kerowa wasted no time in making an impact on
debut for the Orchids, after being called up in the absence of injured skipper
Elsie Albert. Ten minutes after entering the fray, the promising forward
produced a stunning run, bamboozling Cook Islands defenders with a dummy before
crashing over the line to hand her side an important ten-point lead.
think we finished off pretty good, we had a terrible start with too many errors
in that first half and allowed too much momentum for the PNG girls. But I think
our debutants did well today, we had eight in our side and I think they learnt
a lot from today. Although it was a loss, I think we learnt a lot moving
forward.” – Cook Islands coach Rusty Matua
to came away with a result like that on your home turf I'm really proud of
them. They probably let themselves down a little bit towards the back end of
the game, but that's a credit to the Cook Islands too, they came home strong.
There's a strong contingent of players now who have come back from the World
Cup and have a really good bond and have set some high standards which only
helps the younger players follow suit.” – Papua New Guinea coach Ben Jeffries