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Eels eyeing strong start

Saturday 17 February 2024 | Written by Losirene Lacanivalu | Published in Rugby league, Sports


Eels eyeing strong start
Avatiu Nikao Eels players and management with the Cook Islands Rugby League Nines in Paradise title in January, 2024. CIRL/24010764

After claiming the League Nines in Paradise title last month, the Avatiu Nikao Eels are eyeing a positive start to their Cook Islands Rugby League 13s campaign when they take on arch rivals Arorangi Bears this afternoon.

Avatiu Nikao Eels premier men’s side will have some of their former players making a comeback this season.

Their first hurdle will be a home game at Aretere Park against defending champions, the Bears, who had a slow start to their season, going down 8-34 to Tupapa Panthers in the opening round last week.

Eels coach and former skipper Clive Nicholas has welcomed back some of the players he played with 10 years ago, including veteran Maka Tereu.

Tereu was part of the Avatiu team from 2009 and played his last match in 2017.

Nicholas said they will be fielding a “new-look” Avatiu side as some players have moved overseas and others opted not to play due to work commitments. He added that two new Fijian players are joining the team, and more Cook Islanders from overseas will join later in the season.

Nicholas, who is also the national Nines coach, said he was happy to see the Titikaveka Bulldogs team “have sorted themselves out” and that it was good to see some competition.

He explained that in the past, clubs poaching players from each other had stifled competition.

But this year, the Bulldogs as well as Ngatangiia Matavera Sea Eagles have come to the fold at the right time, creating some competition.

The Eels versus the Bears match will kick off at 5pm.

In the women’s competition, Lady Bears will take on Lady Bulldogs at 4.15pm. The Bulldogs forfeited last week’s match against the Lady Panthers after failing to field a team.


Today at Aretere Park –12pm Junior Development – 6 to 12 years old (turning 12 this year), 2.15pm U14s Eels vs Sea Eagles, 3.15pm U16s Sea Eagles vs Bears, 4.15pm Women’s Bears vs Bulldogs, 5pm Premier Eels vs Bears. Premier Men’s - Sea Eagles BYE; Women’s - Panthers BYE; U16s - Panthers BYE and U14s - Panthers BYE.