After their 28-16 win over the Arorangi Bears at Raemaru Park on Saturday, the Sea Eagles created history by becoming the first team to finish the preliminary competition without a loss.
The Bobby Hansen-coached side also claimed the minor premiership title for finishing on top heading into the knockouts which starts this weekend.
The Sea Eagles entered the 2019 league season which started in February as an underdog. The Muri-based team was not even in the mix for the elusive Raro Cars Rugby League 2019 title.
But after their dream run in the competition which include 11 wins from 11 games, the Sea Eagles are the leading favourites for the top prize to be decided in three weeks’ time.
Against the Bears over the weekend, the Sea Eagles once again put on an impressive performance both from their forwards and the backline to dash the home team’s hopes of staging a major upset.
The Bears, who finished on third, had their moments in the match but were unable to overcome the dominant visitors determined to get into the history books.
The Sea Eagles’ tries came from Peter Marsters, Shaiquan Terekia, Allan Toa, Sailosi Nagi and Stanley Olo (two). The Bears scored through captain James Strickland, Julius Iti and Robert Heather Jr.
Cook Islands Rugby League Association competition coordinator Tai Nelio said the inclusion of Terekia brothers – Juwaan, Shaiquan and George – have made the Sea Eagles more intimidating.
“The inclusion of the three Terekia brothers, Juwaan, Shaiquan and George added depth in the Sea Eagles attack and defence and was creating havoc for the Bears,” Nelio said.
“Again, the Sea Eagles halves Ben Wemin and Stanley Olo was creating problems for the Bears at the ruck area making valuable meters behind the Bears advantage line.
“The Sea Eagles took advantage of that and played smart football. Quick play of the ball and sending it out wide from one side to the other caught the Bears short in defence to score.
“The Bears played well at the early stages of the game and defended well. They had some scoring opportunities in the second spell but couldn't captalise and finish it off. Losing possessions of the ball and missed tackles contributed to the Bears’ loss.”
The Bears will face former champions Avatiu Eels in the knockouts this Saturday. The winner will play the losing team from the Sea Eagles and Tupapa Panthers match in next week’s semi-final.
Meanwhile Nelio thanked their major sponsor Don Carlaw and his company Raro Cars for their support this season.