The odds are stacked against the Cook Islands in the World Cup Nines which kicks off today in Sydney, Australia.
However the side remain adamant of a good performance with hopes of toppling some big teams in the two-day tournament.
The Kukis are pooled with giants Fiji, Samoa and Tonga. The national team will need to finish on top in order to make it through to the finals.
Cook Islands will take on Tonga in its opening pool match today before playing Samoa and Fiji tomorrow.
Cook Islands Rugby League president Charles Carlson said there was hardly any mention of the team at the Nines.
“There is hardly any mention of the Cook Islands at the Nines with the other Pacific teams including New Zealand and Australia stealing the limelight. However the Cook Islands is confident of causing some upsets and rocking the world of rugby league this weekend,” Carlson said.
“The team assembled on Monday for their first training in the evening so they had three days preparation before the big day. Most of the players played in the South Africa game with two players making their debut for the Cook Islands this weekend – Tevin Arona and Journe Pua.”
Cook Islands will be skippered by Alex Glenn, who is versatile and reliable players, and will have a huge role to play both on and off the field.
Eels utility Brad Takairangi can play almost every spot on the field and his rangy offloading will be a bonus.
His departing club mate Tepai Moeroa will starch up the middle with Dragons youngster Steven Marsters to add some spark out wide. Former Warrior Anthony Gelling didn't get much of a chance in his time in the NRL but is a dangerous centre or winger on his day.
- Additional reporting from NRL.com
1. Tevin Arona 2. Reubenn Rennie 3. Kayal Iro 4. Alex Glenn 5. Steven Marsters 6. Brad Takairangi 7. Paul Ulberg 8. Journe Pua Journe Pua 9. Aaron Teroi 10. Tepai Moeroa 11. Sam Mataora 12. Anthony Gelling 13. Brody Tamarua 14. Vincent Rennie 15. John Puna 16. Moses Noovao-McGreal