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Rugby league thrills at Raemaru Park

Monday 26 February 2024 | Written by Solomone Taukei | Published in Rugby league, Sports


Rugby league thrills at Raemaru Park
Avatiu Nikao Eels’ Tevita Niusama, also known as The Juggernaut, received the MVP of the week award from the Cook Islands Rugby League for his stellar performance against Tupapa Panthers on Saturday on Februaru 24, 2023 at Raemaru Park in Arorangi. LOSIRENE LACANIVALU/24022520

Excitement filled Raemaru Park in Arorangi on Saturday as rugby league fans throughout Rarotonga gathered to witness a thrilling display of talent. Solomone Taukei reports.

The highly anticipated match between the Avatiu Nikao Eels and the Tupapa Panthers in the men’s premiership division lived up to its hype, with the Eels asserting dominance over the Panthers with a final score of 38-22 in favour of the Eels.

From the opening whistle to the final moments, the Eels controlled the game, leaving no room for errors.

Coach Clive Nicholas set clear targets for his team, emphasising the need to minimise mistakes and stick to the basics.

Despite the Panthers’ hopes for redemption after a previous defeat to the Titikaveka Bulldogs in week two, they faltered once again, signalling a need to reassess their strategies moving forward.

The men’s premiership match two between the Arorangi Bears and the Ngatangiia Sea Eagles had fans on the edge of their seats until the final whistle.

In a nail-biting showdown, the defending champions Bears clinched their first victory of the season on home turf with a thrilling 24-20 win over the Sea Eagles.

Assistant coach Travis Estall-Makirere commended his team for their hard-fought triumph, acknowledging the Sea-Eagles’ relentless efforts in a battle that remained undecided until the last three minutes.

With this win, the Bears secure their first points on the season’s tally board.

In the women's division clash between the Tupapa Lady Panthers and the Arorangi Lady Bears, the Panthers lived up to their ferocious name, dominating both halves with relentless attacks that left the Bears unable to respond.

With a final score of 26-0 in favour of the Panthers, they showcased their prowess on the field, displaying exceptional skill and coordination.

Meanwhile, in the Under 16 grade match between the Ngatangiia Sea Eagles and the Tupapa Panthers, spectators witnessed a fiercely contested battle. The first half saw both teams neck and neck, with only a minor difference in scores. However, the second half belonged entirely to the Sea Eagles, who unleashed a relentless offensive onslaught, completely overwhelming the Panthers. With a final score of 52-18, the Sea Eagles emerged victorious.

MVP of the week

Avatiu Eels’ Tevita Niusama, also known as The Juggernaut, received the MVP of the week award from the Cook Islands Rugby League for his stellar performance.

Niusama’s impact on the field was undeniable, particularly evident in the game against the Panthers where he secured three tries. His influence extended beyond scoring, as he consistently created opportunities with his adeptness in line breaks, solid defensive plays, and key assists.

Niusama’s versatility and skill set him apart, proving instrumental in guiding his team to victory. His ability to dominate multiple aspects of the game earned him well-deserved recognition as the most valuable player of the week.


Men’s: Avatiu-Nikao Eels 38- 22 Tupapa Panthers, Arorangi Bears 24-20 Ngatangiia Sea Eagles; Women’s: Tupapa Panthers 26-0 Arorangi Bears; Under 16: Ngatangiia Sea Eagles 52- 18 Tupapa Panthers