Eels on top at halfway point

Tuesday March 27, 2018 Written by Published in League
The Sea Eagles’ Mike Tou ready to take on a Bulldogs player on Saturday. Sea Eagles won 22-20. See page 12 for more picture from Saturday’s game. 18032652 The Sea Eagles’ Mike Tou ready to take on a Bulldogs player on Saturday. Sea Eagles won 22-20. See page 12 for more picture from Saturday’s game. 18032652

At the end of round one of the domestic rugby league competition, the Avatiu Nikao Eels are sitting in the top spot with a very healthy advantage.

 

Despite not playing over the weekend, their substantial points differential meant that the second-placed Tupapa Panthers would have had to win by more than 100 points in their match against the Aitutaki Sharks to take top ranking.

They ‘only’ managed to win by 58 points, meaning that they will hold firm at second, while their opponents sit sixth, second from the bottom.

Taking the third spot is the Arorangi Bears, who were absolutely clinical in their match against Takuvaine, dispatching them 46-14.

The loss for the TKV Warriors means that they go into the Easter weekend bye having not claimed a single win.

Despite having a minus points differential, the Ngatangiia/Matavera Sea Eagles’ memorable 22-20 win over the Titikaveka Bulldogs means that they leapfrog their neighbours to claim the precious fourth spot.

Had the Dogs held out, they would be sitting in third, but for now they will have to do with fifth place.

Sea Eagles president Tama Tuavera revelled in the exciting win, saying that he was “over the moon”.

“At halftime we were saying that we needed to relax and attack the inside channel, and then spread it out,” Tuavera said.

“And when it was 20-18, the captain said that we were not going to kick for goal, we’re going to go for it, and they pulled it off – it’s awesome.”

Meti Noovao, the Bulldogs coach who led them to championship glory last year, was understandably disappointed with the result, but was encouraged by the last 20 minutes, when his team really asserted themselves.

“Towards the end there were some great moments that we produced. We can take some positives away as we improve for our next game in two weeks,” Noovao said.

He said that the two-week break will help the team work on their combinations and focus on the simple things that help win games.

Noovao also pointed to the championship pedigree that the team has, saying that how they finished last season was something that should benefit them when the second round begins.

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