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Eels, Bears ready for action

Friday 24 February 2023 | Written by CI News Staff | Published in Rugby league, Sports


Eels, Bears ready for action
Lady Bears will be led by skipper Stephanie Nooroa. She is pictured at last month’s Nines tournament against Lady Panthers. 23010924

The round two of the Cook Islands women’s rugby league 13s competition will see two interesting clashes this afternoon when Lady Panthers take on Lady Bears and defending champions Lady Bulldogs battle Lady Eels at Teimurimotia Park.

The Bears and the Eels will be playing their first matches this afternoon.

Lady Panthers and the Bulldogs met in the season opener last week with the Panthers recording a convincing 38-8 win.

Eels assistant coach Sunielia Tom is wary of the wounded Bulldogs and has been busy preparing the team mentally to take on the 2021 champions.

“We are going into the game mentally prepared … like most of the clubs, this will be a learning experience for us and we are looking forward to it,” Tom said.

“Win or lose, we will get back to the drawing boards and work on what we need to do to improve in preparation for our upcoming matches.”

Lady Eels made their rugby league debut last year but the domestic 13s competition was cancelled due to Covid-19 outbreak in Rarotonga.

The team has a number of players who will be playing rugby league for the first time.

They will be guided by some experienced hands in Mahana Sijp, former Lady Panthers player and member of the Under-18 women’s team that toured New Zealand last year, and former Bulldogs player Temata Arbuthnott.

Tariana Tetauru and Danni Tixier are the other U18 players who will be featuring for the Eels.

Andrew Iroa is coaching the side assisted by Tom.

“Trainings have been going well and it’s been a learning curve for the team. We have quite a few 16- and 17-year olds and a mixture of women,” Tom said.

“Given that we have a number of newcomers, the focus has been learning the basics, the fundamentals of rugby league like passing and basic set piece plays.
“Good luck to all the teams out there and we hope you put up a good game, stay safe and injury free and enjoy rugby league.”

Lady Bears manager Tina Iro said the team had been training for the past six weeks.

The Bears are coached by William Heather, Raymond Pirangi and Simi Wichman.

“About half of the team, roughly 10 players are new to the game and will be making their debut. There are five U18 players and the rest of them are in their 20s and 30s,” Iro said.

Lady Bears will be led by skipper Stephanie Nooroa and supported by experienced Courtney Napa.

The visitors expect a tough opener against the high-flying Panthers who are the top bet in the competition after last week’s big win.

“The girls are mindful but fairly confident. They have been gelling well at trainings and really working well together.

“We are really excited to start and to see how the girls blend in their first game of the season.”

Meanwhile in a double header tomorrow, Tupapa Panthers will take on Arorangi Bears before Ngatangiia Matavera Sea Eagles face Avatiu Nikao Eels at Nukupure Park in Muri.


Friday - Victoria Park: Women's - 5pm Panthers-Bears, Teimurimotia Park: Women's - 5pm Bulldogs-Eels: Saturday – Nukupure Park - 9am Junior Development, 11am U14 Sea Eagles-Eels, 12pm U14 Panthers-Bears, 1pm U16 Panthers-Eels, 2pm U19 Eels-Bears, 3.30pm Premier Panthers-Bears, 5pm Premier Sea Eagles-Eels