Exposure key for the champs

Sunday October 21, 2018 Written by Published in League

Defending champions Ozzie Cooks are eyeing exposure more than triumph in the biennial rugby league Tri-Series that starts today at the BCI Stadium in Nikao.

 

The visitors will take on Residents XIII in what is expected to be a cracker of a match at 4pm.

A curtain raiser match between the Ozzie Cookies and the Residents XIII women’s will be held at 3pm.

Ozzie Cooks manager Charlie Hoff said giving break to their budding players was their ultimate goal. Winning, he believes, will be a bonus for the team.

“The main aim is to bring our people back home. Most of them haven’t been to the Cook Islands before. This is a way of reconnecting them to their home,” Hoff said.

“It is also an opportunity for our players to get a bit of exposure playing against the local boys.”

The Ozzie Cooks side will be led by veteran Tere Glassie, who is a former national rep.

Hoff said the team comprised mostly of young players, some of who have played for the NRL under-20 teams.

“There are a couple of them who have played for the Storms U20 team and one for the West Tigers U20 and others playing for various clubs,” he said.

“We haven’t had a run together as a team because there are some players who have joined us from Queensland and a couple from Victoria.”

The team which arrived yesterday morning had their captains run at Raemaru Park later in the afternoon where they worked on fine-tuning their game plan ahead of today’s clash.

Hoff expects a tough battle from the local side but remains optimistic of their chances.

“It’s good to hear that the local boys will be featuring for the Residents team this year. This is a good opportunity for them and they should be given the chance to play in this Tri-Series.”

Residents XIII coach Darren Piri earlier told this newspaper that he was struggling to get players for training but hopes with the limited preparation under their belt, the local side will do well in the Tri-Series.

The Tri-Series will also feature the Motu Koita from Papua New Guinea. The provincial team which is expected to arrive on Monday will fill the void left by the New Zealand Cook Islands Rugby League who are unable to attend the tournament.

“PNG is very passionate about rugby league and they are here to win,” said Cook Islands Rugby League president Charles Carlson.

Entry fee to the match is $5 for adults and gold coin donation for children under 12.

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