The Titikaveka Rugby League Club is taking the Cook Islands Rugby League Association (CIRLA) to court today over the association’s recent decision to strip the club of its points from the first 8 games of the season after the club was found to be in breach of the competition rules. CIRLA president Charles Carlson says the association is not feeling threatened by the court action and added he was unclear as to what exactly the Bulldogs club was hauling them to court over.
The Bulldogs have been the centre of controversy this league season when they were found in breach of the competition’s import player rule. The rule states that clubs can only play three import players, and the issue of the Bulldogs breaching this rule was raised in the third round of the game, but the club only addressed the matter after the 8th round. The Bulldogs were found to be in breach of the rule because they had played five import players – import players defined as non-residents that have been in the country for less than a year. The Bulldogs were punished for the rule breach by having their competition points from the first 8 games stripped – sending them right back down to the bottom of the premier league grade points table. The club asked for leniency however it was explained to them that had if they had fronted up when the matter was raised in the third week of the season – they would not have lost so many points. Last week, Bulldogs club president Robert Matapo admitted the club had made a mistake and apologised to the CIRLA executives.
Carlson believes the association is being hauled to court over the Bulldogs’ claim that the competition rules discussed and amended prior to the start of the season were not adopted properly. Amending the rules is a process Carlson says is ‘simple’ and has been done for as long as he’s been the president of the association. “There’s never a dull moment in rugby league,” he commented.
Matapo declined to comment on why the club was taking the association to court, saying yesterday that he would rather not comment while the matter is before court.
This is the final week of the rugby league round competition before the business end of the season begins next week. Over the weekend – the Bulldogs edged out the Aitutaki sharks at Arutanga field in Aitutaki 24-18 in what was a closely fought battle.
The Eels dealt out a 46-18 thrashing over the Takuvaine Warriors although the Warriors will be thrilled to have scored tries against their top of the table opponent.
Meanwhile, the Panthers faced a fired up Sea Eagles team at Victoria Park with vocal supporters from both camps egging their boys on. The Panthers had a shaky start, but once they settled in they showed their class to beat the visitors 26-12.
This week the Avatiu Eels will meet the Sea Eagles in what should be a very physical game. The Panthers will take on the Bears who had a week off and the Warriors are set to play the Sharks who’ve been this season’s biggest improvers. Before the weekend’s games – the Avatiu Eels were still top of the table with 27 points.
The Tupapa Panthers and Aitutaki Sharks were tied in second place with 18 points each while the Sea Eagles were in third place with 16 points. The Arorangi Bears were 5th with 10 points and the Titikaveka Bulldogs 7th with 6 points. The Takuvaine Warriors have yet to win a game this season and perhaps they will win their final match against the Sharks.
Can the rested Ngatangiia Sea Eagles premier league team do the damage against the classy Tupapa Panthers -- or will the hosts shred their visiting opponents? You will have to get along to Victoria Park this afternoon to find out when the two premier league grades go head to head in this weekend’s main match up.
The Sea Eagles are sitting in 4th place on the premier grade points table and will want to dominate and win today’s game to maintain their top four placing although they are six points ahead of their next rival with 16 points -- well ahead of the Arorangi Bears 10. Regardless, the Sea Eagles are always keen to give their vocal supporters something to celebrate and on their day – they can be a force to be reckoned with. The Panthers will head in to today’s game a confident side after using last week’s game against the winless Takuvaine Warriors as practice run to suss out some of their classy plays and tactics. They are never an easy side to beat so today’s match between the two will be very interesting indeed. The premier match kicks off at 4.30pm at Tupapa where games will start with the under 12 grade at 11.30am.
Meanwhile at the Avatiu Swamp, the top of the table Avatiu Eels will go up against the Takuvaine Warriors. While Warriors supporters, and those that like to support the underdog, would like to see the boys in red win a game this season – it’s highly unlikely they will do that today against the well drilled Eels team. However if the Eels have an off day or decide to underestimate the Warriors – there could be a party in the valley tonight -- but the Eels are not the top of the table for nothing. What you can expect though is a gutsy effort by the Warriors who always give 100 per cent in their games.
Get your club colours on and get along to Tupapa and Avatiu for your rugby league fix.
The Titikaveka Bulldogs rugby league club executives have admitted they made a mistake and breached the Cook Islands Rugby League competition rules which resulted in their premier league grade being stripped of their points earned in their first 8 games of the season. CIRL executives, which include the president of the sevens rugby league clubs met on Tuesday to discuss the decision and punishment dished out to the club for the breach of the competition rules. At that meeting, Titikaveka league club president Robert Matapo apologise to the CIRL executives for the behaviour of his executives regarding the seasons biggest controversy. Matapo also acknowledged that they did make a mistake in their decision and appealed to the committee to be lenient on the penalty imposed on the Bulldogs as he feels the punishment dished out to them was very harsh. He appealed on behalf of the players who were committed to the competition as the defending champions - players punished for the mistake of their executives.
The CIRL executives were certainly sympathetic towards the appeal by Matapo especially the players but the CIRL’s argument is the length of time it took the Bulldogs management to ‘front up’ on the error in playing more than the three import players stipulated in the competition rules. Full blame for the error has been laid squarely on the Bulldogs management for being conceited over the competition rules. One CIRL executive said that he tried to advise the Bulldogs of their breach after the 3rd game but was sworn at by a Bulldogs executive. Had the Bulldogs dealt with the matter then they wouldn’t have lost all their competition points. After finally fronting up to the error after the 8th game – Bulldogs management continued to deny they made a mistake and blamed the CIRL.
“I thank the Bulldogs president for having the courage to face the CIRL executives and admit their error of judgement in their decision making,” says CIRL president Charles Carlson. “What has happened is not good for the competition and especially for the Bulldogs but for him to man up to the mistake made, is a good way for us in putting this behind us and move forward.”
“We feel sorry for the players,” said one CIRL executive member, “but remember what happened to the Canterbury Bulldogs and the Melbourne Storm – they got stripped of all the competition points including the Storm’s championship title for the mistake made by their management not the players.”
While some continue to argue that the rules were not fair on the Bulldogs, Carlson said the fact is 6 out of the 7 clubs played to the rules as understood by all, while the Bulldogs played to their own rules which have cost them dearly. As is the norm, the competition rules will be analysed, discussed and amended where necessary at the end of the season and prior to the start of the new season in 2014.
With just two more rounds after this weekend’s games in the rugby league competition before the play offs – games are sure to be played with loads of intensity as teams jostle to make it in to the top four.
In the premier grade – the Avatiu Eels, who remain top of the table, will take on this season’s biggest improvers the Aitutaki Sharks. The Sharks were no match for the Eels the last time they met at the Swamp however the Sharks have been on a high recently with a string of wins boosting their confidence and helping them secure a top four spot.
Today’s game will be hosted by the Sharks at Arutanga field and you can bet there will be loads of vocal support for the Sharks that will spur them on to topple the Eels. It won’t be an easy task for the Sharks but on their own home soil and with plenty of confidence in the team – anything can happen on the pitch today. The game will kick off at 5pm after the curtain raiser match at 4pm between the Avatiu masters league team and the Aitutaki Happy Feet golden oldies crew.
Meanwhile back on Rarotonga – the Titikaveka Bulldogs will take on the Arorangi Bears and the Tupapa Panthers will rumble with the Takuvaine Warriors. The Bulldogs under 16 team will play Eels today at 4pm while the Bulldogs will play the Panthers at 5pm with both games to be played at the Titikaveka field. More games will be played at the Titikaveka field on Saturday starting at 12pm with the under 12 Bulldogs and Bears game followed by the under 14 Bears and Eels match while the under 19 Bulldogs will rumble with their Eels counterpart. At 3pm on Saturday the Arorangi Bears reserve grade will lock horns with the Eels before the 4.30pm premier grade match between the Bulldogs and Bears.
A full afternoon of games will also be played at the Avatiu field where the Takuvaine Warriors will host the Tupapa Panthers in the premier grade at 4.30pm. The first game at the swamp will kick off at 12pm between the under 12 Panthers and Ngatangiia Sea Eagles before the two clubs continue battling in the under 14 and under 16 grades. At 3pm the Warriors under 19 team will take on their Bears counterparts before the premier grade game.
At this stage of the competition – the top four teams in the premier division look to be the Eels, Sharks, Sea Eagles and Panthers.
The Aitutaki Sharks proved their first win against the Ngatangiia Sea Eagles in round one was no fluke by doing it again at the weekend.This time the Sharks did the damage in front of their large home crowd who were treated to a great game of rugby league at Arutanga field.
The game was a tight and closely fought affair with the scores locked at 16-all in the dying minutes of the game. The Sea Eagles experience shone through when they opted for a drop kick to edge ahead of the Sharks. But the Sharks were not going to be made into fish food on their own turf and dug deep for a final effort to cross the try line and win the game outright 20-17. The result for the Sharks has put them in a good position to secure top four and head in to the business end of the league season and maybe even a grand finals spot.
Meanwhile back on Rarotonga – the Warriors again came oh-so-close to their first win but just didn’t have the wheels to defeat the Titikaveka Bulldogs. The Bulldogs ran away with the game 40-32 and once again the match highlighted the talented individuals in the Warriors camp who have worked hard all season but are missing an element that has seen them winless this season so far.
Out west it was a canning for the Arorangi Bears host who were completely dominated by the visiting Avatiu Eels. The Eels secured a comfortable 28-6 lead at the half time break before running away with the win 46-12 thanks to a fantastic game by Isaako John and Bilsy Gukisuva. This coming week the Avatiu Eels head to Aitutaki to battle with their brothers the Sharks while the Bears and Bulldogs will go head to head and the Warriors take on the Panthers.
The Ngatangiia Sea Eagles will take a breather this week before they return next week to take on the Panthers.
The Titikaveka Bulldogs premier league grade team has been stripped of all its competition points for breaching competition rules relating to overseas players. This sends the Bulldogs, who are defending 2012 club league champions, to the bottom of the points table with zero points. This is the first time a club has been stripped of all its points which highlights the serious and competitive nature of rugby league in the Cook Islands.
This also means that the Bulldogs will need to win all their remaining games to have a sniff at making the top four as the season heads in to the business end of competition. The issue about the number of overseas players in the Bulldogs team was raised three weeks into the competition in February at which time it was reported that a Bulldogs representative assured competition co-ordinators that their players were all eligible. The issue was continuously raised during weekly league meetings however no action was taken by the Bulldogs. Despite several meetings to sort the matter out – it was at the insistence of other clubs that the Cook Islands Rugby League association requested the full list of Bulldogs players and it was finally confirmed the club had played five overseas players – two over the competition rule which only allows three overseas based players. Overseas players are defined as non-Cook Islanders who are either not residents in the Cook Islands, or have not continuously resided in the Cook Islands for 12 months prior to the start of the season.
League President Charles Carlson says that some may argue that this rule discriminates against overseas players including immigrant workers who just arrived in the Cook Islands and have never played rugby league. He clarifies that the Rugby League International rule for a player to represent another country requires the player to be a resident of the country for 3 years. The Pacific Games eligibility rules require an athlete to be a resident of that island for 5 years and must be a passport holder of the island state. Carlson says it is the responsibility of all club management to check the eligibility of their players and ensure they meet the criteria as set in the competition rules. “This is an oversight by the Bulldogs management and certainly some harsh lessons have been learned from the experience,” says Carlson. “CIRL executives have now cleared the three overseas players that should be eligible to be playing for the Bulldogs for the rest of the season.” He also suggests that had the Bulldogs dealt with the matter at the time the issue was first raised – they would not have lost as many match points as they now have. “Many lessons have been learned from this event and hopefully all club management will take the competition much more seriously this time round,” adds Carlson. “We are continuously having to revise our competition rule every year to accommodate the changes which I believe is a healthy thing.” He adds that he doesn’t support the idea of amending the rules halfway through the competition and is supported on this by most of the clubs. “Otherwise with our situation we will be changing the rules every week so it is good that a year is given to test the rules and make changes if required for the new season.”
The Aitutaki Sharks savaged the visiting Arorangi Bears on Friday night and setting up a weekend-long celebration on the outer island.
The Sharks headed into the match sharing second place with the Titikaveka Bulldogs on the 7 team premier grade points table and were the match favourites against the 6th placed Bears.
The Sharks, cheered on by their large crowd vocal supporters ripped into action from the first whistle and by half time were leading the game before keeping the Bears scoreless in the second half to win in emphatic form 44-10.
Back on Rarotonga the Warriors were once again guttered to miss out on a win at the weekend when they faced the ever tenacious Ngatangiia Sea Eagles.
While they may be at the bottom of the table, the Warriors are a talented bunch but despite their best efforts they couldn’t clip the Sea Eagles wings as the lads from the east just managed to edge out the Warriors and win 28-25.
Meanwhile, a tense game of rugby league was seen at Victoria Park when the visiting Bulldogs took on hosts the Tupapa Panthers.
The game was tense from the first whistle with the two sides trading blows.
The two teams looked evenly matched early on in the game as they traded tries and big hits.
However, the Panthers aggressive defence and slick attack saw the side foil a number of would be tries by the Bulldogs and run in a couple of slick and classy tries to rattle the Bulldogs.
Two quick and brilliantly worked tries by the Panthers had the side pumped with confidence as they lead the first half before coming back in the second half to take the game away 36-14.
This week the Panthers will face the on form Sharks in what should be a very interesting match while the Bears and Sea Eagles square off.
The main match this week will be the game between the Avatiu Eels and defending champions the Titikaveka Bulldogs.
It might only be game three, but today’s rugby league premier grade match between defending champion Titikaveka Bulldogs and the ever threatening Avatiu Eels is set to be a massive showdown. The Bulldogs have had a slow start to the season losing both their first two games – the first against a spirited Ngatangiia Sea Eagles team and the second last weekend against the classy Tupapa Panthers.
Not that they need to be reminded of the loss which they have no doubt spent the past week channelling their disappointment into a game plan that will defeat the Eels today. But on home ground, the Eels can be a force to be reckoned with and the side from the swamp are certainly on a confident buzz after their first up win against the Tupapa Panthers in the first round of games. The Eels will no doubt use every opportunity to blood in some of the clubs impressive up and coming youthful players.
The youth combined with the stalwarts of the club makes for a dangerous combination but the team that sticks to their game plan and plays as a unit is sure to be today’s victor on the field. If you are not an Eels or Bulldogs fan – the other match of the day is at Raemaru Park between the Arorangi Bears and Ngatangiia Sea Eagles.
The Aitutaki Sharks premier grade rugby league team have this week earned an easy two points after learning that the Tupapa Panthers will not be travelling to the outer island for their planned match. The Panthers have defaulted their game against the Sharks and while the Sharks will be disappointed that their first home game is a no-go – they will still be pleased with the two points.
Meanwhile the first rugby league game this week starts today when the Avatiu Eels under 16 team heads to Titikaveka to take on the Bulldogs under 16 team. This match will kick off at 4.15pm.
On Friday, the masters league match at the Avatiu field will be the curtain raiser game at 4.15pm before the Avatiu Eels and Titikaveka Bulldogs reserve grade rumble in the Swamp at 5.15pm.
On Saturday remaining age grade matches between the two clubs will be played out before the main game of the week takes to the field between the Avatiu Eels and Titikaveka Bulldogs premier grade in what should be a very physical and action packed game. Other match ups this weekend will see the Ngatangiia Sea Eagles head to Raemaru Park to play the Arorangi Bears while the Takuvaine Warriors take a break with a bye.
The core VALUES of any organisation was highlighted at the Sport Symposium coordinated by CISNOC, and the KEY to any organisations success. This will be adopted at next General meeting of the CIRLA along with any amendment to the Competition Rules for 2011.
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