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Lady Panthers ready to blood newcomers in 13s competition

Thursday 12 January 2023 | Written by CI News Staff | Published in Rugby league, Sports

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Lady Panthers ready to blood  newcomers in 13s competition
Some of the members of the champions Lady Panthers team after attending a church service on Sunday. SUPPLIED/ 23011101

Fresh off winning the League Nines in Paradise tournament, Lady Panthers are gearing up for the 2023 domestic 13s competition where they hope to give newcomers a chance to shine.

Lady Panthers are eyeing a successful season after a perfect start at the League Nines tournament over the weekend.

The Rima Browne and Maruia Willie co-captained side finished the two-day tournament held at the National Stadium in Nikao, unbeaten. In their opening match, the Panthers drew with Lady Bears 4-all before beating former champions Lady Bulldogs 17-8. In the final, the Panthers overcame Bears 14-6.

Browne and Willie said: “Preparation was a challenge. We actually struggled with numbers. In the end we were lucky to make up the team with returning Cook Islanders who were here on holiday.”

The team also fielded a relatively young side with eight of the 14 players in the 16 and under age category.

The co-captains said this was a good sign for the game’s future.

“The team also comprised of three mother-daughter duos, which was really special.”

The club thanked their players, management and especially those who worked behind the scenes, playing a big part in the team’s success.

“Harriet (Tuara) and June (Willie) were out but came on board as A1 managers who recollected the team after day one’s performance to come back stronger on the final day,” they said.

“The win at the end of the day was definitely a bonus and long time coming for us as a club who joined the Nines three years in a row.”

Looking ahead, Browne and Willie said: “The goal is to hopefully have more girls wanting to play for us in the 13s season.”

Results

Women Panthers 4 Bears 4, Men - A Bears 2 0 Bulldogs 28, Men - B Bears 1 11 Sea Eagles 9, U18 Panthers 25 Bears 4, Women Bulldogs 8 Bears 0, Men - A Panthers 10 Bulldogs 15, Men - B Eels 18 Sea Eagles 10. U18 Panthers 19-0 Bears, Women Bulldogs 8-17 Panthers, Men – A Panthers 30-4 Bears 2, Men – B Eels 16-8 Bears 1, Women Bulldogs 10-12 Bears, Men Bulldogs 8-11 Bears 1, Men Panthers 15-23 Eels, Men Bears 2 14-13 Sea Eagles, U18 Panthers 13-17 Bears (U18 Presentation: Overall Best Of 3 Matches: Panthers), Women’s Final – Panthers 14-6 Bears, Men’s Third Place – Bulldogs 19-7 Panthers, Men’s Final – Bears 1 6-8 Eels.