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Town Blues vs Country: Maroons Cook Islands set for thrilling Origin Series battle

Friday 7 June 2024 | Written by Solomone Taukei | Published in Rugby league, Sports

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Town Blues vs Country: Maroons Cook Islands set for thrilling Origin Series battle
Avatiu Nikao Eels coach Clive Nicholas and Tupapa Panthers mentor Daren Piri are coaching the Town side Blues team. CIRL/24060603

Rugby league fans can look forward to more rugby league action as excitement builds up for the 2024 Town vs Country Origin Series that kicks off next weekend.

Rugby league clubs in Rarotonga have gathered their best players and with some thrill and excitement, fans can anticipate their favourite and most valuable club players competing in one of the two teams that is Town and Country side for both men and women’s.

The Town-based clubs, the Tupapa Panthers and the Avatiu Eels, will form the Town side Blues. They will compete against the Country side Maroons team, made up of players from the Arorangi Bears, Titikaveka Bulldogs, and the Ngatangiia Eels. This new format promises intense rugby and showcases the best players from across the Cook Islands.

For the Town Blues side, Avatiu Nikao Eels coach Clive Nicholas, who led his team to victory in both the 9s and 13s competition this year, joins Tupapa Panthers coach Daren Piri. The two form a lethal combination of great minds and skills aiming to grasp the inaugural title.

The confirmed players for Town Blues include Avatiu Eels’ Toru Katuke, Josh Motu, Josh Koroi, Tangimetua Akava, Jale Tekivakatini, Adyn Kapi, Tevita Niusama, Nathan Nabou, Tamatoa Nicholas, Anapa Nicholas, PapaLii Ponini, Viiga Riupena, Fale Sooialo, Bill Temo, Penitito Lio, and James Nand. The Panthers selected in the team are Eric Newbigging, Alistair Newbigging, Tua Ravula, Oswell Tunupopo, Mafu, Jason Putoru, Troy Matutu, Kana Nga, Oki Naea, and Olive Willie.

Nicholas: “The competition will have a rotation system, so all named players will get a chance to play in every game.”

He said that with three games through three weekends of competition, this approach makes sure that everyone participates and keeps the competition exciting and unpredictable.

Coaching the Country side Maroons are Bobby Hansen from the Arorangi Bears and the experienced Nepia Dion. Both coaches have a lot of experience and are known for motivating their players and bringing out their best.

The Country Maroons side will also be very interesting as they have a wider pool of selection with numerous talents showcased throughout the League 9s and 13s season from three clubs.

The skill and experience of both coaching teams suggest that the results of the regular league season could be very different in this competition.

The 2024 Town vs Country Origin Series will kick off on Saturday, June 15.