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Cooks ready for Fiji in Tri Series opener

Saturday 3 June 2023 | Written by Losirene Lacanivalu | Published in League, Sports


Cooks ready for Fiji in Tri Series opener
Cook Islands captain Toru Katuke with Fiji’s Tabusoro captain Jone Baikeibau. LOSIRENE LACANIVALU /23060205

Cook Islands Residents are ready for the Fiji Residents-Tabusoro side in the Cook Islands Rugby League Tri Nations Series opener this afternoon at Victoria Park in Tupapa.

Cook Islands Residents captain Toru Katuke says they have had only about a week and a half to train and come together as a team.

But they will march into the series opener today with a purpose, building up to the Pacific Games Nines Competition that will be held in the Solomon Islands in November.

“We only had a week and a half together. Previous to that everyone has come out of the (domestic) season, so it’s been two weeks of uncertainty, and when the dates were confirmed, we got into it. We have had three good (training) sessions so far with good numbers turning out to training,” Katuke said on Thursday.

He said some team members were still with their clubs, coming out of the celebration phase.

Katuke said the feeling among the players in the Cook Islands camp is positive, and they are happy to continue playing rugby league after the conclusion of the 2023 domestic 13s season.

He said they are hoping to get the best players together for the Pacific Games Nines through this inaugural Tri Nations Series.

“A Tri Series to put the best players together, it is the first time we are doing it so we will see how it goes.

Cook Islands captain Toru Katuke shares a light moment with team mates. LOSIRENE LACANIVALU /23060207 / 23060208

“We will just play, there are different feelings, some boys did not make the finals in the league club games, and there are some who want to keep riding on a high, so there is a mixture of different feelings out there.

“The conversations I have had with the boys, they are keen to play rugby league again. A lot of them are grateful that there is a competition for them to play.”

Katuke has called on the supporters of both teams to come out in numbers and support local talent.

“We are looking forward to seeing the talent, the local boys working with other boys and those from other clubs.”

Fiji Residents-Tabusoro captain Jone Baikeibau said today’s match will see a number of young players showcasing their talents.

Baikeibau, who played for Tupapa Panthers in the club competition, said they are glad with the opportunity to help prepare the Cook Islands team for the Pacific Games.

He said they will follow the game plan given by their coach, stay focussed and do their best.

Baikeibau is also calling on the community to come out in numbers and support the two teams.