The National, Tuesday July 30th, 2013
By JACK AMI
FAVOURITES Port Moresby and surprise packets Aroma Coast won their opening Southern Zone trials Pool A matches at Kwikila Rugby League oval yesterday.
POM tamed Kavo Gulf 18-10 in a defensive encounter with the city side capitalising on edge in the forwards.
Aroma Coast beat NCD Suburban Ducks 14-4 and the village team’s performance shows they will not be a push over in the tough pool which includes Pom and Gulf as well. Aroma top the pool with on points differential.
For Gulf and Suburban it is a must-win situation in the two remaining matches during the week to qualify for the playoffs.
In front of capacity crowd of about 1,000 hosts Rigo downed Kairuku All Sounds 24-12 in the Pool C opener and Gaire escaped the clutches of Alotau 14-10.
In Pool B Marshall Lagoon stopped Popondetta 16-8 in a match Popondetta coach Norris Selu described as “rushed” by the organisers.
He admitted however that the result was as a wakeup call for his team.
In the other Pool B match Gabagaba beat Tubusereia 14- 4.
In Pool E, Koiari thrashed Barakau 22- 0 while Pool D results were not available.
Twenty teams competed in five pools of four.
Pool A: Port Moresby, Kavo Gulf, Pom Suburban, Aroma Coast.
Pool B: Marshall Lagoon, Popondetta, Gabagaba, Tubusereia.
Pool C: Kairuku, Rigo, Alotau, Gaire.
Pool D: Rigo Coast, Tabubil, Kerema, Poreporena.
Pool E: Barakau, Koiari, Pari, Rigo Central.
Teams will play one match per day over three days with the playoffs on Thursday and followed by the final on Friday with the champions pocketing K5,000.
The zone trials has seen rural and small centres leagues lift their performance to match their city bethren with the main prize the cup and spots in the South Zone team.
Gulf Governor Havila Kavo and PNG Rugby League Foundation CEO Brad Tassell were on hand to watch day one action.
The Sports & Pacific Games Minister Justin Tkatchenko, Western Governor Ati Wobiro and Oro Governor Gary Juffa are other special guests expected at the trials during the week.
Southern Zone selectors will select a squad for the National Zone championships in Lae in September.
Draws: 0800 Rigo Coast vs Tabubil, 0850 Pari vs Rigo Central, 0940 Pom vs Suburban Ducks, 1030 Gulf vs Aroma Coast, 1120 Popondetta vs Tubusereia, 1210 Gabagaba vs Marshall Lagoon, 1300 Rigo vs Alotau, 1350 Kairuku vs Gaire, 1440 Tabubil vs Poreporena, 1530 Rigo Coast vs Kerema, 1620 Barakau vs Pari, 1710 Koiari vs Rigo Central.