More Top Stories

Rugby league

Moana target 2025 World Cup

11 November 2022

Contenders clash for title

Thursday 28 March 2024 | Written by Solomone Taukei | Published in Rugby league, Sports


Contenders clash for title
Avatiu Nikao Eels leads the Cook Islands Rugby League Rarotonga 13s men’s competition with only a loss so far. LOSIRENE LACANIVALU/24021806

The 2024 Cook Islands Rugby League season unveils its contenders, with each team eyeing the coveted title with fierce determination.

The Rarotonga 13s competition will take a break this weekend and when it resumes next week, traditional powerhouses and rising stars will once again collide in a thrilling display of athleticism and strategy, promising fans an action-packed season finale.

Leading the charge is the Avatiu Nikao Eels, a team that has asserted its dominance early in the season.

Their victory over the reigning champions Arorangi Bears 38-18 on Saturday showed their hunger to claim the top spot.

Coach Clive Nicholas employs reverse psychology with his team, stressing, “We can’t achieve a win unless we work hard for it.”

He holds high expectations for his players, demanding their utmost effort to meet his standards.

However, standing in their way are the Tupapa Panthers, strengthened by recruits and a hunger for success. With a convincing win over the Bulldogs 52-12 last week, the Panthers have made their presence known, ready to take on any challenger.

Guiding the Panthers is the mysterious coach Darren Piri, hailed as a tactical genius. His knack for orchestrating victories leaves opponents guessing and experts amazed.

Yet, behind the scenes, coach Piri is always striving for improvement, even in the face of triumph.

As he puts it, “We still got a lot to do, at times we are lucky the other team gets more mistakes than us.”

His strategic whispers keep the Panthers one step ahead of the competition.

Meanwhile, the Bears regroup after early setbacks, drawing on their past resilience.

Coach Bobby Hansen, known for his quiet brilliance, instils belief in his players, fuelling their determination to defy the odds.

As underdogs once again, the Bears quietly plot their rise, ready to rewrite the story of their season.

Amid the giants, the Ngatangiia Matavera Sea Eagles soar with newfound confidence, having handed the Eels their first defeat in round one.

Under the meticulous guidance of coach Dion Nepia, the Sea Eagles sharpen their skills with precision, dissecting opponents with calculated tactics.

Nepia emphasises the importance of structure, saying, “We need to keep focusing on the structure of our game plans.”

Could this be the season where the underdogs rise to greatness?

Amidst the chaos, the Titikaveka Bulldogs regroup under the leadership of Coach Mark Tuaati, a young strategist with a bold approach.

Despite their setbacks, the Bulldogs remain a wildcard, capable of turning the tide with one strategic move.

As they prepare for battle, the league watches closely, knowing the Bulldogs are far from out of the fight.

As the season unfolds, fans brace themselves for a clash of titans, each armed with skill, strategy, and determination. It’s a thrilling journey filled with twists and turns, where every pass and tackle hold the key to victory.