Thursday November 13, 2014 Written by Published in League
The Cook Islands Rugby League Resident XIII side won their first game 32-20 against the visiting Waicoa Bays Stallions from New Zealand.
It was a close tussle between the two sides at Nukupure Park trading try for try and levelling the score 20-all towards the last quarter of the game.
With minutes ticking away, the Resident XIII side was awarded a penalty close to the line but opted to take the kick to edge them to a 22-20 lead.
The highlight of the match came via a huge break from Aitutaki strongman Mau George who then passed the ball to ‘Johnny on the spot’ Okirua Naea who drew in more desperate Waicoa defenders before offloading the ball to the charging Stanley Tobias who banged his way through the last remaining Waicoa defenders to cross the chalk and touch down for the Cooks.
A huge effort by Tobias, who, only moments earlier was lying on the ground being attended to by the team’s medical personnel.
With the successful conversion by the kicking machine Brian Toa, who also scored a try for the Cooks earlier in the match, the local side were in a comfortable lead 28-20.
With time up on the clock the sides tall timber flying Fijian Sai Nagi took the ball from the scrum and sprinted on the blind side to dot down in the corner to seal the game 32-20.
The Wai-Coa-Bay Stallions squad is selected from the Upper Central Zone of New Zealand Rugby League and the team on the island is made up of mostly under 21 players.
The Upper Central Zone comprises of four districts namely Waikato, Coastline Rugby League, Bay of Plenty, and Gisborne Tairawhiti Rugby League.
The Stallions were promoted to the National Premiership Grand Final, losing to the Canterbury Bulls 40-8.
This was certainly a good win and a confidence builder for the local side as they prepare to face their brothers from Australia this Saturday for the first game of the Cook Islands Rugby League Tri Series. The second game of the Tri Series will be between the Australian Cooks and the New Zealand Cooks on Tuesday hosted by the Tupapa Panthers and the final game between the Resident XIII and NZ Cooks on Friday hosted by the Avatiu Eels.
There will be a big double-hitter this Saturday at the Ngatangiia Sea Eagles grounds with the Waicoa Bays Stallions taking on the Flying Ngatangiia/Matavera Sea Eagles at 2.30pm followed by the Resident XIII and the Australian Cooks match at 4.30pm.