Eels are back in the game

Monday April 01, 2019 Written by Published in League
Avatiu Eels’ Lai Rogorogoivalu celebrates as he dives over for a try against Tupapa Panthers at Victoria Park on Saturday. The Eels won 42-4. 19033192 Avatiu Eels’ Lai Rogorogoivalu celebrates as he dives over for a try against Tupapa Panthers at Victoria Park on Saturday. The Eels won 42-4. 19033192

It seems the shackles are finally off their feet. The Avatiu Eels are running free, wild and with confidence in the domestic rugby league competition.


And their mighty run over the weekend handed them a major win in round eight of the Raro Cars Rugby League Competition 2019.

The Eels walloped defending champions Tupapa Panthers 42-4 at Victoria Park on Saturday to turn their season around after a dismal start in the opening few rounds.

The Panthers have only themselves to blame for this heavy loss. They seem disjointed and were sluggish in both attack and defence.

They missed tackles, dropped balls due to the slippery conditions and also failed to make any clean breaks which they are renowned for in the competition.

The Panthers surely missed the likes of Teina Savage and Tua Ravula who are with the Cook Islands Sevens team in Hong Kong.

The Eels were in a league of their own – fast and furious with ball in hand and had superb control of possession despite the conditions.

They played a champagne rugby league, flowing the ball from one end to another and rattling the Panthers defence line with power and will.

The star-studded Eels which lacked dynamism and co-ordination in their previous rounds seem to have found their combination in both attack and defence.

Their powerful start and a try within couple minutes after the opening hooter was enough to inspire the visitors to post a commanding 24-0 lead at the end of the first half.

The home side only managed a consolation try and that too from a solo effort midway the second spell as the Eels ran rampant to score three more tries and a penalty to seal the 42-4 win.

Indiscipline was also an issue for the Panthers as they lost a player to sinbin when they were down 28-0 in the opening spell.

Eels coach Meti Noovao praised his players for the outstanding performance against the giants.

“We have been working a lot on our discipline on attack and defence and the guys seem to have grown around that area, showing more meaning to the purpose to play,” Noovao said.

“It (the win) has come at a right time and hopefully we can just improve from here on now.”

Former Eels coach Albert Nicholas has been heavily involved with the team. On Saturday, he was on the bench calling out shots and helping Noovao deliver the tactical message to the players during the match.

“It’s great to have someone like Albert by my side. He has a lot to offer because he is so knowledgeable when it comes to rugby league and I have so much respect for him.

“We have got a great coaching and management team and we seem to be connecting at the right time and that is showing on the field.

“The boys really played out of their skins and it’s something the coaches and management staff have been working on for a while.”

Meanwhile the Ngatangiia Matavera Sea Eagles maintain their unbeaten run after beating Titikaveka Bulldogs 30-12 at Nukupure Park.

The Sea Eagles remain on top of the points table and on track to claim the round competition.

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