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Top of the table clash

Friday 3 March 2023 | Written by CI News Staff | Published in Rugby league, Sports

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Top of the table clash
Lady Panthers’ Rima Browne in action against Lady Eels last year. The two teams will meet this afternoon in the 2023 competition. 22021160

Lady Panthers will be looking to finish their round one women’s rugby league competition undefeated when they take on Lady Eels this afternoon.

Both teams are undefeated, the Panthers won their last two matches against defending champions Lady Bulldogs and Lady Bears. The Eels defeated the Bulldogs last week.

Cook Islands Rugby League competition coordinator Franky Toa said the women’s division had had some interesting battles and surprising results.

Toa said today’s clash between the Eels and Panthers would determine the frontrunner in the women’s competition.

“However it’s still round one and anything can happen. Round one is a good opportunity for teams to get their footings right and for coaches to see who are the core team heading into round two.”

Lady Panthers manager Harriet Tuara said like every other game they expect another competitive one against Avatiu. 

“They have a young side who impressed last weekend - both in the backs and forwards. It will be a good tester for us to see if we’ve cleaned up on our little errors,” Tuara said.

“We’ve had a good week’s preparation. Our team has taken recovery very well especially after playing two back to back games.

“We are excited to meet our sisters from Avatiu on the field. I think what’s important for our side is to be physically adept but also flexible and adaptable like we were against our last two opponents.”

Following their first match of the season – a 30-10 win against the Bulldogs last Friday – Lady Eels assistant coach Sunielia Tom said: “The win has definitely set a platform for our women to build on and improve in the remaining matches.”

Tom said winning their first match was a “huge morale booster”, adding they were looking forward to their remaining matches.

“It is still early stages in the season.”

Meanwhile in the premier match this afternoon defending champions Tupapa Panthers will take on Titikaveka Bulldogs at Victoria Park.

Last week, the Cook Islands Rugby League hosted a double header “due to Bulldogs on bye”.

Toa explained: “When Bulldogs are playing, we will have their match on Friday, when they are on bye, we will have a double header on Saturday.” The Bulldogs play their matches on Friday due to majority of players belonging to Seventh-day Adventist Church and observe their Sabbath on Saturdays.

“We will have two double headers this season, one was at Nukupure Park last week and another one will be in round two at Raemaru Park in Arorangi.”

On Saturday, premier men’s leaders Avatiu Nikao Eels will host Arorangi Bears.

Fixtures

Today: 5pm Aretere Park (The Swamp) – Lady Eels-Lady Panthers, 5pm Victoria Park –Tupapa Panthers-Titikaveka Bulldogs; Tomorrow: Aretere Park – 9am Juniors, 12.30pm U14 Eels-Bears, 1.30pm U14 Panthers-Sea Eagles, 2.30pm U16 Panthers-Eels, 3.30pm U19 Eels-Bears, 5pm Premier Eels-Bears.