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Lady Bears seal final spot

Friday 28 April 2023 | Written by CI News Staff | Published in Rugby league, Sports


Lady Bears seal final spot
Lady Bears defeated Lady Panthers 28-22 in the closely fought top place playoff at Aretere Park yesterday. Picture: LOSIRENE LACANIVALU /23042739

Lady Bears are through to the Cook Islands Rugby League women’s 13s competition final after a hard-fought win in the top place playoff last night.

Lady Bears defeated arch rivals Lady Panthers 28-22 in extra time play at Aretere Park in Avatiu.

The match ended in 22-all draw and Lady Bears scored in the extra time play to clinch the 28-22 win.

The win puts the Arorangi side into the final while the Panthers will get another chance in the semi-final next week.

Lady Eels will host defending champions Lady Bulldogs in the third-place playoff with the winner battling Lady Panthers in the semis.

Lady Eels co-captain Maeva Poaru said last week the team fell short of players but that “didn’t stop us from taking the field”.

“The important thing is sticking together as unit, as a team, as sisters and going out there and doing our best not for ourselves but those that cannot take the field, and also the village.”

The Bulldogs finished the preliminary rounds without a win and will be going all out to get their first win this afternoon against the Eels.

Poaru said they are wary of the Bulldogs’ challenge despite their form this season.

“My co-captain and I we have drilled into our girls not to take any game lightly. Playoffs is a different ball game and no matter where you finish on the points table, there is a lot of pressure when you come to this stage and the team that wants more will become victorious at the end of the day,” she said.

“So basically, we can’t underestimate the Bulldogs.”

Poaru said they were still struggling with numbers but hopes the players will come together for the most important match of the season.

“We have come up this far and we will continue to be there for each other and we will keep supporting each other from the first whistle to the end.

“Considering this is our first full season as last year’s competition was cut short, it’s a huge win for us coming this far.

“For majority of our girls, this is their first time to play not just rugby (league) but to play a sport and I thank them for having that pride, for stepping up, never wanting to give up and wanting to finish the season together not matter how far we can get.

“(Against the Bulldogs) we are going out there to do our best and put everything we have done at our training and leave all out there on the field and hopefully come away with a win. The main thing is to play the whole 35-minute half, stick to the game structure and everything will be ok.”

The Lady Eels versus the Lady Bulldogs match will kick off at 4.30pm at Aretere Park.