The National – Monday, December 20, 2010
By EKONIA PENI
THE AFL PNG U16 Aussie rules team will today play Tonga in the Oceania Cup final in Tonga.
The PNG team’s advancement to the final was conclusive after they won all their matches last week against New Zealand, Solomon Islands, Samoa, Vanuatu and Nauru.
And they remained undefeated in their last two matches last Friday when they thrashed Fiji 58-7 and on Saturday when they whipped hosts, Tonga 48-6 to be the outright favourites in today’s cup final.
Yesterday was a rest day for all the teams and was vital time for the PNG team to go through rehab by swimming in the sea to prepare for today’s final.
AFL PNG junior coach Walter Yangomina was cautious last night from Tonga when he said that the Tongan juniors had big strong bodies and were expected to use that to their advantage in the final to beat PNG today despite losing to the PNG juniors on Saturday.
However, Yangomina said: “To counter the Tongans, the PNG juniors will be using their speed when attacking forward so that they can continue to score easy points.
“Our centre line players including Gedion Simon and Jeconiah Peni have been great in directing play and getting the football out quickly from the centre and moving it forward to give us more possession to score points.
“In defence, we have our captain Rau Kobale and vice-captain Theo Gavuri, who have also been outstanding in leading the team when defending.”
Other teams who competed in the Oceania Cup were last year’s champions New Zealand, Fiji, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Nauru, Samoa, Tonga, and the Boomerangs, an Australia Indigenous team.
After the final today, the AFL PNG team will fly out of Tonga at 6 pm to Nadi, Fiji where they will overnight.
They will fly out of Nadi to Brisbane tomorrow and will return to Port Moresby on Wednesday.