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11 November 2022

Underdogs rise as Sea Eagles shock Eels

Monday 11 March 2024 | Written by Solomone Taukei | Published in Rugby league, Sports


Underdogs rise as Sea Eagles shock Eels
Ngatangiia Matavera Sea Eagles defeated the previously unbeaten Avatiu Nikao Eels 22-18 at Nukupure Park on Saturday. SOLOMONE TAUKEI /24031010

In the fifth week of rugby league action, the fields witnessed unexpected shifts and surprises as underdogs rose to the occasion and mighty teams faced humbling defeats.

In a thrilling Cook Islands Rugby League 13s premier men’s encounter on Saturday, the Avatiu-Nikao Eels faced off against the Ngatangiia Matavera Sea Eagles at Nukupure Park.

The Eels, accustomed to dominance, were taken aback by the strategic prowess and physicality displayed by the Eagles. The Sea Eagles, led by head coach Dion Nepia, executed a clinical game plan, maintaining a formidable defence and exerting consistent pressure on the Eels.

The final score of 22-18 in favour of the Sea Eagles not only secured a victory but also sent shockwaves through the league. It was a testament to the Sea Eagles’ resilience and determination, proving that with the right mind-set and teamwork, anything is possible.

Dion’s post-match address epitomised pride and gratitude as he commended his team for embodying the values of attitude and belief. The Sea Eagles’ unwavering self-belief and collective attitude paved the way for their triumph. The coach’s words resonated with the players, encapsulating the significance of their achievement in defeating the competition’s top team.

In addition to the intense clashes in the senior division, the junior and women’s categories showcased remarkable performances as well. The Lady Bulldogs displayed dominance in a physical encounter against the Lady Bears, securing a commanding victory with a score line of 30-4. The determination and skill of the Lady Bulldogs were evident throughout the match, highlighting their prowess on the field.

Similarly, in the U16 game, the Ngatangiia Matavera Sea Eagles demonstrated their strength against the Arorangi Bears. Playing on their home ground, the Sea Eagles emerged victorious with a score of 24-10, showcasing their potential and talent at a young age.

On Friday, the showdown between the Titikaveka Bulldogs and the Arorangi Bears marked one of the most intense clashes of the week. The Bulldogs, once considered invincible, were stunned by the ferocity of the Bears 6-32.

Bobby-Ryan Hansen, the coach of the Arorangi Bears, reflected on the challenges they faced due to player unavailability. With younger players stepping up and Hansen himself leading from the front, the Bears managed to secure a remarkable victory. Hansen emphasised the importance of senior players guiding the younger ones, instilling in them the essence of simplicity and correctness in their game.

Conversely, the absence of Mark Tuaati, the Bulldogs’ coach, left them in a state of adaptation. Alex Connal, a senior player of the Bulldogs, acknowledged improvements from their previous game against the Eels. However, he pointed out that minor lapses allowed the Bears to capitalise, highlighting areas of improvement needed before the next round.


Premiers: Bulldogs 6 Bears 32, Sea Eagles 22 Eels 18; Senior women: Bulldogs 30 Lady Bears 4; Under 16: Sea Eagles 24 Bears 10; Under 14: Sea Eagles 14 Panthers 4