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Do-or-die in league clash

Saturday May 04, 2019 Written by Published in League
Avatiu Eels will rely on their young and energetic forwards such as Toru Katuke (pictured) against Titikaveka Bulldogs today. 19050344 Avatiu Eels will rely on their young and energetic forwards such as Toru Katuke (pictured) against Titikaveka Bulldogs today. 19050344

It’s do-or-die for defending champions Avatiu Eels and Titikaveka Bulldogs in the domestic rugby league competition today.

 

The two teams will meet at Teimurimotia Park in a bid to finish in the top four of the Raro Cars Rugby League Competition 2019.

The Eels, who are in fourth place, need a win to maintain their spot and remain in the run for the title.

A win for the Bulldogs, who are on fifth place, will give them an edge, especially with a match remaining against the Aitutaki Sharks next weekend.

Eels coach Meti Noovao said they have to be on top of their game to topple the unpredictable Bulldogs side.

The Bulldogs managed a narrow win in the opening round match which was marred by some controversial calls from the match officials.

“We got to turn up with the right attitude and perform to our level best against the Bulldogs. We have to come up with the goods to get the two points,” Noovao said.

“We don’t want to get into a situation where we have to rely on the Sharks to beat the Bulldogs to hand us the top four placing. We need to play well to secure that spot this weekend.”

The Eels did not enjoy a good season, putting on an inconsistent performance in the 2019 competition.

“Our season has been really bumpy especially after a poor start and indiscipline has been a big factor. Hopefully as a club we have all learnt a lot because I surely have. We just have to come into this match with lot of patience and make sure our defence line put the pressure on them (the Bulldogs),” Noovao said.

Cook Islands Rugby League Association competition coordinator Tai Nelio said the match between these two teams would be an exciting one.

Nelio said both teams had a good chance of finishing in the top four.

“It’s do-or-die game this Saturday for both teams if they want to secure a top four placing in the Raro Cars Rugby League Competition,” Nelio said.

“Bulldogs on fifth placing and trailing only two points behind the Eels sitting anxiously on fourth spot. The Bulldogs must win their last two matches to secure the top four placing. The Eels has to topple the charging Bulldogs comfortably to hold onto the final fourth spot.”

Nelio said the Bulldogs would have the psychological advantage after their win over the Eels earlier in the season.

“Playing with a home advantage, expect the Bulldogs to come out firing early. We haven’t seen them play their best football this season yet or are they leaving their best to the last?

“The Eels just need to maintain their discipline and cool heads, that’s been their downfall and costed them some very close games.

“If they come in this game a very discipline side, they can beat any team on the day and they have the resources to do it.

“Eels will be a team to be recognise comes the playoff time. I watched them play the Panthers couple of weeks ago and they were lethal. Playing the Bulldogs on their turf won’t be an easy task and the Eels is well aware. The rugby league ball is oval in shape and has an unpredictable bounce. Anything can happen.”