Bears through to the U19 league final

Wednesday May 16, 2018 Written by Published in League

The young Arorangi Bears under-19 team will carry the pride of Puaikura with them in the grand final of the domestic rugby league competition.

The final will be held on Saturday, June 2, at the BCI Stadium in Nikao.

The Bears premier team failed to make it through to the playoffs after finishing in fifth place in the preliminary round of the competition, which ended last week.

However, its U19 team, which finished on top of the points table, has earned a direct entry to the final.

The winner from next week’s semifinal between defending champions Titikaveka Bulldogs and Ngatangiia Matavera Sea Eagles will then take on the Bears for the U19 title.

Cook Islands Rugby League Association competition coordinator Taua Benioni said that despite having only three teams competing, the U19 competition this season saw some close matches.

He said the Bears survived the round-robin competition on 12 points, followed by the Bulldogs on 10 points.

Benioni said the Sea Eagles only managed two wins after recording close losses against Bulldogs and Bears in other matches.

“Although the Bulldogs will head into the U19 semis against the Sea Eagles as the favourites next week, anything can happen in that game. Sea Eagles were unfortunate to lose their matches and they have a point to prove when they fight for the final spot,” he said.

“Bears are in a good position and will have ample time to recover and prepare for the grand final.”

Apart from the U19 competition, Benioni confirmed the junior development matches will continue in the remaining weekends, including grand-final week.

The teams that feature in the junior grade are Avatiu Nikao Eels, Tupapa Panthers, Bears and the Sea Eagles.

“We will have the U11, 13 and 15 teams’ competition starting at 11am in the coming weekends,” said Benioni. “We have an average of four teams in each grade and we are excited and pleased to note the growth in junior development competition.

“We also request that other clubs start organising their junior development teams for next season.

“Cook Islands Rugby League acknowledges the support of Lydia Nga for organising the games and Billy Tuaivi for looking after the referees’ side of the programme.”

Meanwhile, the premier and reserves playoffs will start this weekend.

On Friday, the top of the table clash between Eels and the Panthers will see the winner heading straight into the final, while the loser plays the winner of the Bulldogs versus Sea Eagles match to be played on Saturday.

In the reserves, Bears will take on the Bulldogs while Panthers will play the Eels on Saturday.

This weekend’s matches will be held at the BCI Stadium. The premier clash will kick off at 4.30pm.

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