Ngatangiia Matavera Sea Eagles will be hoping to maintain their fairytale run in the domestic rugby league competition when they face Avatiu Nikao Eels today in the semifinal at BCI Stadium.
After their 40-14 win over Titikaveka Bulldogs in the preliminary playoff last weekend, the Sea Eagles will be heading into the semis oozing with confidence, eyeing a spot in the final.
The Eels, on the other hand, lost to Tupapa Panthers 16-22 in the preliminary playoff on Friday, allowing the Panthers to book their spot in next week’s grand final.
Based on the recent form of the Sea Eagles, especially the win last weekend, the side is expected to cause a major dent to the Eels’ title hopes.
Against the Bulldogs, the Bobby Hansen-coached Sea Eagles were ruthless, and with a sublime combination in their backline together with a power-packed performance from the forwards, the side proved unstoppable.
The combination between the Terekia brothers Shaiquan, George and Juwaan, aided by the likes of Wemin and Dominique Noo, is deadly and can cause havoc for the Eels defenders.
Sea Eagles winger Storm Ruatoe was also in fine form, scoring four tries in the Bulldogs win. With ball in hand and space, Ruatoe can prove quite the peril to opposing defenders.
Eels have lost three matches in a row and the Terry Piri-coached side will need to dig deep to get back to winning ways today.
They left it too late for a comeback against the Panthers, after struggling to find their footing in the opening spell.
They lacked creativity in the middle to produce opportunities for their backline players to barge through the Panthers wall. With the likes of Clive Nicholas, Logan Perenise, Tua Ravula, Samu Alafua and Lai Rogorogoivalu, to name but a few, the Eels will have the edge in experience against a youthful-looking Sea Eagles side.
But that won’t matter much if the side is unable to execute the opportunities they create in the match.
The match will kick off at 4pm.- RK
Fixtures; 1pm Under 19s Ngatangiia Sea Eagles v Titikaveka Bulldogs; 2.30pm Premier Reserves, Tupapa Panthers v Arorangi Bears; 4pm Premiers (main game of the week), Avatiu Eels v Ngatangiia Sea Eagles. Gates will open at 12pm. Cover charge $5. Players listed $2. Children under 12 gold coin. There will be no junior rugby league this weekend as all our young players qualify to go direct to the grand finals next week. All semifinals, sudden death knockout.
Squads; Sea Eagles: Daniel Toa, Dominique Noo, Shaiquan Terekia, Matthew Sakai, Storm Ruatoe, Ben Wemin, George Terekia, Usaia Sivo, Ngamata Miriau, William Kauvai Jnr, Juwaan Terekia, Michael Tou, Alex Kermode, Christian Hosking, Mel Isaac, Tom Weeks.