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Bears maul Eels at Raemaru

Monday 7 February 2011 | Published in Regional

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Soggy conditions on Saturday did little to keep rugby league fans away for the fields for the first round of the season.

Out at Raemaru Park – the Arorangi Bears mauled the Eels with a comprehensive 26-8 win under the leadership of new coach Walter Tangata.

The Bears were out for the kill and wasted no time with niceties as they played with grand finals intensity.

The Bears were on the board first with a penalty kick but it was the Eels that claimed the first try of the game when big number 10 Bilsy Gukisuva crashed across the line to give the Eels an early 4-2 lead.

That lead was short-lived when the Bears speed machine Pokoroa Pauka pounced on a slippery Eels loose ball.

With ball in hand – Pauka sprinted 60 metres to dot down for the Bears second try and put them back in the lead 8-5.

And brimming with confidence the Bears attacked the Eels line resulting in a sliding try in the corner to give the Bears a 16-4 lead over the Eels at the half time break.

Avatiu coach Albert Nicholas Jnr urged his team to use their heads not just in the tackles but to create try scoring opportunities.

The Eels outfit were certainly missing direction from their play maker Bobby Hansen, creative director Clive Nicholas and impact player Lui Nicholas.

The Eels resorted to pulling in players from the under 19 and reserve grade to bolster their ranks against a sharp and hungry Bears pack.

The slippery conditions at Raemaru Park also took a toll on players with both sides having their fair share of injury woes on the day.

Back in the second spell, the Eels gave their supporters something to cheer about when a bomb into the corner by Teararoa Bishop was collected by winger Kunta Tom to ground down for a try in the corner and to close in on the Bears score 16-8.

But just as the Eels thought they were back in the game – the Bears seemed to find renewed energy and intensity as they went on to score two more tries to rub salt in the Eel’s wounds and take out the match 26-8.

A stalwart Bears supporter commented that if the Bears ‘smoked’ the Eels in their first encounter – the Bears were certain to take out the 2011 championships.

It’s early days yet but one thing is for sure – the Bears have come out this season firing and eager to mow down anyone in the way of their championship goal.

Meanwhile in other premier grade games – the revitalised Takuvaine Warriors proved that they have the talent to field a premier grade team in the local league season when they held the Titikaveka Bulldogs to a 16-all draw at the BCI Stadium on Friday night.

The Bulldogs is another club hungry to rise from the bottom of the pack and show their prowess.

The Ngatangiia Sea Eagles fans are no doubt still recovering from their celebrations at the weekend after edging out their fancier opponents the Tupapa Panthers 17-10 at Victoria Park.

This week – the Titikaveka Bulldogs have a bye while the confident Takuvaine Warriors will take on the wounded Avatiu Eels.

The Panthers had better pick up their game as they face the visiting Aitutaki Sharks this week who are keen to sink their teeth into some fresh meat.

The game of the week will definitely be that between the raging Arorangi Bears and the crafty Ngatangiia Sea Eagles.