Eagles on top, Eels still alive

Tuesday May 07, 2019 Written by Published in League
Avatiu Eels’ John Penu (second from right) takes on a Bulldogs player at Teimurimotia Park on Saturday. The Eels won 30-20. 19050621 Avatiu Eels’ John Penu (second from right) takes on a Bulldogs player at Teimurimotia Park on Saturday. The Eels won 30-20. 19050621

Ngatangiia Matavera Sea Eagles have claimed the minor premiership title in the Raro Cars Rugby League Competition 2019 with a round to go this weekend.

 

The only unbeaten side in the competition sits on top of the ladder ahead of Tupapa Panthers, Arorangi Bears and Avatiu Eels who are placed second, third and fourth, respectively.

The Sea Eagles have a match against the Bears this Saturday in the final round, and regardless of the result, the Muri team is all set to finish the preliminary competition on top.

Former champions Eels, who held on to win 30-20 against Titikaveka Bulldogs on Saturday last week at Teimurimotia Park, are back in contention for the title after cementing their fourth place.

Eels coach Meti Noovao was a relieved man after the match and hailed his players for keeping the Bulldogs attackers at bay in the second spell to claim the much needed match points.

The Eels started off well but their dominance fell apart after a resurgent Bulldogs came fired up in the second spell to give the visitors a good run for their money.

“We started off really good but in the second spell, we started to go away from the game plan and also some discipline issues started to show up. We also lost focus on the ball security as we lost possession in tackles,” Noovao said.

“We allowed the Bulldogs to come back in the game and put the pressure on us but I’m pleased the players managed to hold on to the lead and eventually win.”

Noovao said he was pleased with the overall discipline of the players in the crunch match.

Indiscipline has cost the Eels dearly and has lost the team some valuable match points earlier in the round.

Noovao said they still have to work on that area and other weak links which troubled them against the Bulldogs, especially in the second spell.

“We just need to focus on things like holding on to the ball and completing our sets. We lacked in both against the Bulldogs and we cannot afford to repeat that again especially heading into the knockout competition.”’

Meanwhile in the other premier match which was held on Friday, Tupapa Panthers thumped Aitutaki Sharks 70-10 at Victoria Park to cement their second spot on the points table.

The Sharks are due to host the Bulldogs this Friday.

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