Titikaveka Bulldogs booted out of league’s premier comp

Thursday 25 February 2021 | Written by Rashneel Kumar | Published in League

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Titikaveka Bulldogs booted out of league’s premier comp
Titikaveka Bulldogs played at the Nines tournament last month but they don’t have enough players to compete in the weekly 13s competition. 21010819

Cook Islands Rugby League’s premier grade competition has been reduced to five teams after Titikaveka Bulldogs fail to show up again.

Titikaveka Bulldogs premier side have been removed from the Raro Cars Cook Islands Rugby League Competition.

This was after the Bulldogs confirmed that they will not be able to field a team in tomorrow’s premier clash against Aitutaki Sharks.

The side failed to field teams against Tupapa Panthers and Avatiu Eels in the opening two rounds.

Francis Toa, the secretary of Cook Islands Rugby League Association, said according to the competition rules “Clubs defaulting games shall be fined a  minimum of $200 for each default and persistent defaults may result in the suspension of the team from the competition who fails to field a team for three games during the whole season”.

“Bulldogs representative confirmed at CIRLA Club meeting on Monday, February 22, that they were not able to field a team this coming Friday against the Sharks. Therefore, as this is their last chance to front a team, they have been removed from the competition.”

The Bulldogs yesterday declined to comment, referring all enquiries to Cook Islands Rugby League Association.

However, the club will still field their reserves and women’s teams in the weekly competition. Their status in the competition will be discussed at next week’s meeting.

Titikaveka Bulldogs will take on Arorangi Bears in the opening women’s match of the 2021 season at Raemaru Park tomorrow, starting at 5pm.

With the Bulldogs out, the premier competition is down to five teams.

Last year Takuvaine Warriors pulled out of the competition due to lack of players.

Vasie Ngatoko-Poila, the president of Takuvaine-Tutakimoa Sports and Cultural Association, then said a number of factors led to their decision to withdraw the team.

The club did not return this year.

Yesterday Ngatoko-Poila told Cook Islands News the situation remained unchanged, “there is still not enough players”.

Last year she said: “There are a number of compounding reasons and lack of players is one of them. The plan is to take a break and revive the sport, not only league but other sporting code in the community.”

“There is still much interest in our community in any sports code, be it soccer, netball, rugby league or union but at this point in time, we would like to get together to strategise the progress and development of sports in our community.”

The Warriors were demoted to the reserve grade in 2019 after a poor start to the competition that season where they lost all their opening round matches by big margins.

Cook Islands Rugby League then said the decision to demote the team was based on the concerns raised on the safety of their young players. Takuvaine fielded junior grade players to make up the numbers on game day.

The 2021 competition heads into round three this weekend with Tupapa Panthers taking on defending champions Ngatangiia Matavera Sea Eagles and Bears battling the Eels on Saturday.

“Sea Eagles have agreed for a host swap with Panthers and Sea Eagles will host this weekend’s games at Nukupure Park, Ngatangiia. Bears will host the Eels at Raemaru Park in Arorangi,” Toa said.