With their main team out of the premiership title race, the onus will be on the reserve side to bring some glory to the Eels camp.
The two teams have fought tooth and nail in the 2018 domestic rugby league season and will be going all out to end the tough year on a high.
“It’s been a tight battle with our two finalists Tupapa Panthers and the Avatiu Eels,” said Cook Islands Rugby League Association competition coordinator Taua Benioni. “The Eels only losing one match during the round against the Panthers and just managing to win against them 32-30 to advance to the grand finals, likewise with the Panthers, which managed to win in the dying seconds of the semifinal against a well-drilled (Arorangi) Bears team 30-28 to book their place in the finals.” Benioni said it was not an easy task to coach teams in the premier reserve grade, especially with the change in lineup every week.
“You can imagine what the two coaches, Panthers’ Eddie Herman and Eels’ Billy (Bush) Tuaivi are going through in preparation, having to choose their final players to battle it out on finals day,” he said.
“Panthers have showed throughout their campaign a never-say-die attitude with the Eels playing the tortoise and the hare race. I’ll stick with the team with the right attitude. Good luck to both teams.”
Gates will open at 10am. Entry fee is $5 for adults and a gold-coin donation for children.
11am Junior Development; 1pm Under 19s, Bulldogs v Bears; 2.30pm Premier Reserves, Panthers v Eels; 4pm Premiers, Sea Eagles v Panthers.