The Warriors have been in dismal form, losing all their matches in the opening round of the Raro Cars Rugby League Competition 2019 by big margins.
CIRLA president Charles Carlson said the decision to move the Warriors’ premier team to play in the premier reserve grade was based on the concern raised by the clubs on the safety of players.
The matter was raised by Ngatangiia Matavera Sea Eagles rep Tamaiva Tuavera after seeing the Warriors struggling to get players on the day and fielding a very young junior grade player to make up the numbers.
This is a safety issue here we are talking about, Tuavera stated.
Carlson said the premier’s draw remains the same except they will now have two byes, despite the Warriors “transition”.
“There was also a gentlemen’s/ladies agreement that clubs will not load their reserves with their premier grade players otherwise it defeats the purpose of TKV playing in the reserves,” he said.
“Therefore we would encourage all clubs to please field your reserve grade versus TKV and not a training game for your premiers.”
Carlson said the TKV Rugby League have been also advised to sort out their management structure.
“TKV has to come up with a plan to strengthen the club 2020 onwards (Nines tournament, CIRL competition) plus add a development grade(s) to the club.”
Carlson also said there was no major disagreement from the TKV Warriors’ officials. However he said the officials were divided about the decision to play in the lower grade.
TKV Warriors will play their first game in the reserves grades against Arorangi Bears today at Raemaru Park.
In the feature premier match of the week, defending champions Tupapa Panthers will host former champions Avatiu Eels at Victoria Park.
The Panthers have lost only once in their past six matches and will head into this clash as the favourites.
In the round one competition, the side defeated the Eels as well. The Panthers’ only loss came from the mighty Sea Eagles.
The Eels have won only two matches, against minnows Warriors and Aitutaki Sharks, and the Meti Noovao-coached side will be raring for a major win today.
The Panthers will surely miss the services of Teina Savage and Tua Ravula, who are part of the Cook Islands Sevens team to Hong Kong Sevens.
In the other premier clash, the Sea Eagles will host Titikaveka Bulldogs at Nukupure Park.
The Sea Eagles are the only undefeated team in the competition and they would come out firing to maintain their winning run.
The Bulldogs will be hoping for an upset win in order to maintain their top four standings.
Victoria Park – 1.20pm U9/11 Tupapa Panthers-Avatiu Eels, 2.10pm U13 Tupapa Panthers-Avatiu Eels, 3pm Reserves Tupapa Panthers-Avatiu Eels, 4.30pm Premiers Tupapa Panthers-Avatiu Eels; Raemaru Park – 4.30pm Reserves Arorangi Bears-Takuvaine Warriors; Nukupure Park – 4.30pm Premiers Nga/Mat Sea Eagles-Titikaveka Bulldogs.