More Top Stories

Rugby league

Moana target 2025 World Cup

11 November 2022

Eels lead, Panthers fight back

Monday 4 March 2024 | Written by Solomone Taukei | Published in League, Sports


Eels lead, Panthers fight back
Despite the Sea Eagles’ efforts, the Panthers remained strong and ultimately emerged victorious 34-14 at Teimurimotia Park on Saturday. Picture: SOLOMONE TAUKEI/ 24030310

Avatiu Nikao Eels premier men’s side cemented their place on top of the domestic 13s competition after extending their winning streak to three matches.

In a thrilling match between the Avatiu-Nikao Eels and the Titikaveka Bulldogs during week four of the Cook Islands Rugby League Premiership games on Friday, spectators were treated to a rollercoaster of reactions.

The Bulldogs charged into the game with a strong and dominant start, keeping the crowds on the edge of their seats at Teimurimotia Park. The first half seemed poised for a major upset as the Bulldogs controlled the game and led 18-10.

However, the Eels refused to give up. In the second half, they clawed their way back into the game, leaving the Bulldogs stunned and unable to respond.

Despite the upset, Bulldogs coach Mark Tuaati remained composed, stating, “I never thought of coming today to win, but it was all about doing the right things.”

Tuaati emphasised the importance of setting targets and doing the basics correctly, such as making right tackles and completing sets, to secure victory.

On the other side, Clive Nicholas, the coach of the Avatiu-Nikao Eels, stressed the significance of holistic discipline for his team.

“If you want to win the trophy, you need the attitude to stay good,” he remarked.

Nicholas reminded his players of the support from the village and major donors, highlighting the importance of top performance to keep sponsors on-board.

Final score was 52-18 in favour of the Eels.

In the second Men’s Premiership match on Saturday evening, the Tupapa Panthers faced off against the Ngatangiia Matavera Sea Eagles in a fierce battle at Teimurimotia Park.

Both teams were eager for a win, having suffered defeats in their week three games. The Panthers, showing greater determination, quickly took the lead on the scoreboard, leaving the Sea Eagles playing catch-up throughout the game. The match was physically demanding, with both teams hustling hard for victory.

Despite the Sea Eagles’ efforts, the Panthers remained strong and ultimately emerged victorious.

The final score of the game was 34-14 in favour of the Tupapa Panthers. The victory marked a significant turnaround for the Panthers, who displayed resilience and skill on the field.

Sea Eagles coach Dion Nepia acknowledged the challenges his team faced, stating, “The injuries struck us pretty hard, and we had to make use of the available boys. However, it came down to conditioning for the boys.”

Nepia expressed confidence in his team, stating that he wasn’t worried about their performance and that they would now focus on their next game against the Eels.

In the women’s game between the Lady Bulldogs and the Lady Panthers, excitement filled the air as both teams displayed their physical and creative prowess.

The Lady Bulldogs set the tone early, scoring a try within the first three minutes, but the Lady Panthers swiftly responded. As the game progressed, it became evident that the Lady Bulldogs had the home advantage, with the crowd rallying behind them.

The players hustled and bustled, showcasing their skills and determination. In the end, the Lady Bulldogs emerged victorious with a full-time score of 18-10.


Premiers: Men’s: Avatiu Eels 52-18 Titikaveka Bulldogs, Tupapa Panthers 34-14 Ngatangiia Sea Eagles. Premiers: Women: Lady Bulldogs 18-10 Lady Panthers.