Bears, Bulldogs out to maintain pride

Wednesday May 30, 2018 Written by Published in League

Their senior teams may be out of contention for the premiership title but Arorangi Bears and Titikaveka Bulldogs still have a lot to fight for in the domestic rugby league final this weekend.

 

The two teams will battle it out in the under-19 final at the BCI Stadium in Nikao on Saturday.

The Bears, after finishing the round-robin competition on top, made it through to the showdown without playing in the preliminary playoff.

The Bulldogs had to play against Ngatangiia Matavera Sea Eagles, scoring a 32-18 win in the semifinal last week to make the final.

The Bears may have a slight advantage heading into the match, as the side has had ample time to recover and prepare.

Nothing can be taken away from the Bulldogs however, who will be out to defend their U19 title.

“The Arorangi Bears had done enough to go straight to the finals with the other two playing a semifinal match last weekend which was won by the Titikaveka Bulldogs against their village neighbours the Ngatangiia Sea Eagles,” said the Cook Islands Rugby League Association (CIRLA) competition coordinator Taua Benioni.

“The Bears seems to have the utmost advantage but you never know, this is finals time.”

Benioni also said that the association faced a massive challenge running the U19 competition given the limited number of teams participating this year.

“It wasn’t an easy task for CIRLA to maintain their under-19s grade as there were three clubs who managed to field a team – Bears, Bulldogs and the Sea Eagles. However, CIRLA still managed to give them as much game time as possible,” Benioni said.

“At a time during the competition, the grade was put on hold for two weeks mainly because there were a number of junior players selected to attend a rugby tournament overseas.

“But the ones left behind still managed to slot in with their reserve teams for game time to ensure they maintained their quality in their battle for the title.”

Apart from the U19 grade, there will also be a final battle for the season in the junior development programme.

“At 11am on Saturday, Aunty Lydia Nga and her organising team will have all juniors battling it out in their own means of grand finals rugby league.

“I encourage all team supporters, parents and friends to all be there for them and also to end their season on a high.”

Gates will open at 10am. Entry fee is $5 for adults and a gold-coin donation for children.

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