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Panthers to face Bulldogs in women’s league opener

Thursday 16 February 2023 | Written by CI News Staff | Published in League, Sports


Panthers to face Bulldogs in women’s league opener
Lady Panthers will take on Lady Bulldogs in the women’s league opener on Friday at Victoria Park at 5pm. 23010925

Four teams are competing in this year’s Cook Islands Rugby League women’s 13s competition which kicks off tomorrow afternoon with Lady Bulldogs taking on Lady Panthers.

Exciting is building up for the women’s 13s rugby league competition with Avatiu joining Titikaveka, Arorangi and Tupapa this year.

Cook Islands Rugby League competition co-ordinator Harriet Tuara said “we are excited to have Avatiu join in the ladies division to increase the number of teams to four”.

Avatiu is being led by Sunelia Tom and coached by Andrew Iroa.   

“This will definitely not only grow women’s rugby league but increase the game time across the board,” Tuara said.

The Nines competition held last month set the platform for the 13s season.

Lady Panthers won the Nines meet and will be out to claim the 13s title but face a tough challenge especially from defending champions Lady Bulldogs.

“The Nines competition earlier on in the year was again tough to nail biting moments. Lady Panthers were able to take that competition out against the Lady Bears in a tight grand final,” Tuara said.

“Again, Titikaveka will be a team to watch out for being led by Hinnah Tatuava (World Cup rep) and veteran Patty Taea.”

The opening clash between the Bulldogs and the Panthers will be held at Victoria Park in Tupapa, starting at 5pm.

The Koa Kopu coached Lady Panthers will be led by captain Rima Browne.  Browne hopes to put up a good performance with the advantage of playing at home but she knows Lady Bulldogs will come strong and put up a good fight.

Meanwhile Tuara said with the Pacific Games to be held later in the year “we hope this season of 13s will inspire some of our young women to play and represent their country”.

The women’s team have been approved by Cook Islands Sports and National Olympic Committee to participate after winning bronze at the last Pacific Games in Samoa.  

Cook Islands Rugby League president Charles Carlson earlier said: “The league season is, therefore critical to the preparation for this Pacific Games for our women. We will also be selecting a couple of overseas-based players to beef up the team providing they meet the Pacific Games eligibility criteria.”

“CIRL is yet to confirm whether to take a men’s team pending whether they can justify to CISNOC that the team can potentially win a medal at Pacific Games. However, the deciding factor will come down to the enormous costs of taking two teams to the Pacific Games.”