Played under drenched conditions at the BCI Stadium in Nikao, the game had both teams battling tooth and nail for the win, but after a torrid 80-minute encounter, the match ended in a 26-all draw.
The draw was enough for the Residents, who earlier defeated the Ozzie Kukis to clinch the title.
The home side drew first blood in the match from Feleti Iona to lead 4-0 before the visitors bounced back to score a converted try and lead 6-4.
Feleti scored his brace in the 10th minute after picking up a good offload from Tua Ravula and Tyson Oaariki’s conversion saw the Residents retake the lead 10-6.
However the Motu Koitas had better ideas and powerful play in the 23rd minute allowed Andrew Homoka to go over for the team’s second try as they gained lead again 12-10.
The tit-for-tat battle raged on as the Residents created some opportunities and their effort paid off from a Jovilisi Naqitawa try in the 27th minute. Residents went into the break with a slim 14-12 lead.
A defensive blunder in the 42nd minute by the Residents allowed the Motu Koitas to get back into the match and a try from them under the crossbar saw them take the lead again at 18-14.
The un-song Motu Koitas extended their lead further to 24-14 in the 47th minute through Andrew Homoka before Ravula scored a try to cushion the deficit to 18-24.
Motu Koitas was penalised for a high tackle in the 63rd minute and Toru Katuke barged his way past the try line to level the match 24-all.
Determined for win, the Motu Koitas took a slight lead through Maxwell Doriga’s penalty in the 67th minute but Oaariki levelled the match 26-all in the 77th minute from a penalty in front of the cross bar.
Champion for the Cook Islands Tri Series 2018 – Cook Islands Resident XIII,
Women’s Cook Island Australia Best player – Jane Kareroa, Men’s Cook Island Australia Best player – Noah Eastern, Women’s Cook Island Resident Best Player – Shar Atai, Men’s Cook Island Resident XIII Best Player – Tama Hunter, Motu Koita Lagatois Best player – Maxwell Doriga.
Cook Islands Resident XIII – I. James Strickland. 2. Joe Hoeflich. 3. Feleti. 4. Tua Ravula. 5. Jovilisi Naqitawa. 6. Tyson Oaariki. 7. Julias Vaetaru. 8. Andre Iro. 9. Aberehama Tauta. 10. Oswel Tunupopo. 11. Oki Naea. 12. Tama Nicholas 13. Tama Hunter 14. Basil Matapo 15. Rangi Piri 16. Arii Nicholas 17.Toru Katuke
Motu Koita Lagatois – 1.Maxwell John 2. Kosman Rahe 3. Eddie Murphy 4. Pipi Gari 5. Whallen Tauloi 6. Maxwell Doriga 7. Oala Frank 8. Opao Matthew 9. Andrew Homoka 10. Guba Tau 11. Buli Henao 12. Ronney Dabu 13. Gumasa Ageve 14. Matagu