Taking it up a notch

Tuesday 12 January 2021 | Written by CI News Staff | Published in Rugby league, Sports


Taking it up a notch

Cook Islands Rugby League is aiming to include women 13s into their national competition for 2021 in a bid to develop the sport in the country.

The intense affair between clubs at the League Nines in Paradise tournament held last weekend has impressed the Cook Islands Rugby League Association.

The two-day tournament saw some close battles especially in the finals that were played on Saturday at the National Stadium in Nikao.

According to Cook Islands Rugby League, the competition level at the annual event superseded their expectations.

Association president Charles Carlson said: “The standard of the game was excellent considering being the first game of the season after a very long break as a result of the Covid-19.”

“The highlight was seeing a large number of young players coming up the ranks and this can only be good for the future of the game.”

The competitive men’s division saw a tough battle in the playoffs between eventual winners Tupapa Panthers I, Avatiu Eels, Aitutaki Sharks and 2020 champions Arorangi Bears.

The Panthers defeated the Eels 32-26 in a tit-for-tat final to claim the Nines title.

Carlson said: “The Panthers were certainly a class act edging out the Eels in the finals to take out the championship. The Aitutaki Sharks also played some fantastic games, defeating the Bears for the third placing.”

In the women’s competition which, for the first time, featured four teams, Rarotonga reigned supreme after beating Tupapa Panthers 11-8 in a closely contested final.

Carlson says he is also pleased with the competition level in the women’s division.

“The women games were very impressive especially with the majority of the women playing their second game of rugby league following up from the successful Cook Islands Games,” he said.

“There are certainly some good talents out there but talent alone will not get you anywhere if you don’t know how to play the game.”

Cook Islands Rugby League is aiming to include women 13s into their national competition for 2021 to bolster women’s rugby league in the country.

“It is important that they keep playing the game more to be able to learn the game and improve on their skillsets with good coaching,” Carlson added.


Day One – M Avatiu Eels 30 Tupapa Panthers 2 6; M Ngatangiia Sea Eagles 4 Titikaveka Bulldogs 21; M Arorangi Bears 10 Aitutaki Sharks 22; W Rarotonga 27 Wale - Pa Enua 0; M Tupapa Panthers 1 51 Tupapa Panthers 2 10; M Avatiu Eels 17 Aitutaki Sharks 14; M Ngatangiia Sea Eagles 6 Arorangi Bears 22; W Arorangi Bears 4 Tupapa 5; M Tupapa Panthers 1 35 Titikaveka Bulldogs 6; M Tupapa Panthers 2 12 Aitutaki Sharks 27; M Avatiu Eels 29 Ngatangiia Sea Eagles 8; W Rarotonga 9 Tupapa 4; M Tupapa Panthers 1 39 Aitutaki Sharks 25; M Titikaveka Bulldogs 10 Arorangi Bears 8; M Tupapa Panthers 2 12 Ngatangiia Sea Eagles 40; W Wale - Pa Enua 0 Arorangi Bears 32

Day two – M Tupapa Panthers 1 9 Arorangi Bears 15, M Aitutaki Sharks 25 Ngatangiia Sea Eagles 20, M Titikaveka Bulldogs 8 Avatiu Eels 23, W Rarotonga 11 Arorangi Bears 13, M Tupapa Panthers 1 43 Ngatangiia Sea Eagles 17, M Arorangi Bears 6 Avatiu Eels 23, M Titikaveka Bulldogs 39 Tupapa Panthers 2 20, W Tupapa Panthers 46 Wale - Pa Enua 4, M Tupapa Panthers 1 16 Avatiu Eels 13, M Arorangi Bears 55 Tupapa Panthers 2 16, M Aitutaki Sharks 16 Titikaveka Bulldogs 12, W Tupapa Panthers 28 Pa Enua 0, W Arorangi Bears 8 Rarotonga 17, M Tupapa Panthers 1 29 Arorangi Bears 17, M Avatiu Eels 29 Aitutaki Sharks 14, Women’s Third Place – W  Pae Enua 9 Arorangi Bears 31, Men’s Third Place – M Arorangi Bears 19 Aitutaki Sharks 20, Women’s Final – W Tupapa Panthers 8 Rarotonga 11, Men’s Final – M Tupapa Panthers 34 Avatiu Eels 26


Women’s Final Placings – Rarotonga ($1500), Tupapa Panthers ($500), Arorangi Bears ($250), Pae Enua ($100); Men’s Final Placings – Tupapa Panthers 1 $5000, Avatiu Eels $2000, Aitutaki Sharks $1000, Arorangi Bears $500, Titikaveka Bulldogs $300, Ngatangiia Sea Eagles $200, Tupapa Panthers 2 $100