Binatangs into final

Main Stories, Sports

The National, Monday, May 2, 2011

THE PNG Binatangs U16s will play the Gold Coast Stingrays in the final of the Queensland U16 state championships today after  winning matches against South East Bushrangers and Suncoast Power.
The eight-team elimination format involves the state’s best seven U16 teams and the PNG Binatangs who have a good record at the tournament having finished in the top three in their last two visits.
Last year’s finalists the Binatangs 11.8. (74) opened their campaign with a crushing 40 point win over the Bushrangers 5.4. (34) last Thursday a day after arriving in Brisbane.
Earlier Binatangs coach Nathan Napkai said he was excited at the prospect of his squad, most of whom were part of the AFLPNG Academy at De La Salle outside Port Moresby, would test themselves against Queensland best U16s.
“We have a lot of talent in our group.
“Players including Scott Johnson, Ori Nilmo and Michael Macca have experience playing internationally and are ready for this challenge.
“The core of the group are ALFPNG academy students and have trained and lived together for over 12 months.
“This makes PNG stronger than in previous years.
 “Also coming off the Oceania Cup win last year the boys want nothing more than to prove themselves against Australian opposition,” Napkai said.
The Binatangs, carrying the title of Oceania champions which they won in Tonga last year then took on Power on Saturday and beat them 8.5. (53) to 6.3. (39) in a closely fought match.
Three goals by  Johnson and two by Ben Otio helped seal the win while teammates Ori Nilmo, Nane Rai and Wilfred Dorogi all kicked goals
Other players who stood out in the match were Michael Macca, Maximillian Lavua and Noel Maguna.
For Power Jacob Chapman booted two and Elliot Escott-Kenny, Brad Forbes, Cain Tickner and Nick Selman registered goals for the home side.
PNG’s opponents in the final, Stingrays, belted Lions Academy Colts 13.5 (83) to 3.8. (26).
In other matches today Bushrangers play Country Kookaburras in the 7th place playoff, Northern Raiders face Western Taipans for 5th spot and Power take on Lions for 3rd place.