Central emerge winners in nines comp


TEAM Central won the rugby league nines gold medal at the PNG Games after beating a gallant Madang 48-34 in the grand final at the Peter Humphreys Oval.
Coach Colin Geno said the last time Team Central won gold was in Goroka, Eastern Highlands 12 years ago.
He said the win would be savoured by the province and proved that Central had one of the country’s best nines programmes.
“We prepared the team for eight weeks after the Central government registered our participation in nines and within that period we put in a lot of effort and based on that we came up with our best team,” Geno said.
“Most of the players are from the Aroma Coast and winning the gold means a lot to the players because most of them come from the villages.”
Geno, who won the award for the coach-of-the-year at the SP Awards earlier this year, said he was pleased to have guided another team to success.
“You just have to be committed and passionate when it comes to getting teams ready for these kinds of tournaments.”
Geno’s coaching prowess was proven well before the Games with the former Port Moresby Vipers player having guided clubs and provincial sides to success at various district, invitational and provincial events over the last three years.
“Working around the rucks was important, fitness, stamina, agility, using the corridor concept, preparation and discipline were all important factors we tried to apply in our games,” Geno said.
Geno also spoke highly of his side’s opponents in the gold medal playoff, Madang, as a side which showed their class during the tournament.
“Madang is a powerful side, they had the weight, height and speed. When the draws were finalised and we saw that we would probably face Madang in the finals, we had to change our game plan a bit.
“We decided to use the corridor concept and tighten up our defencse and make it our focus against Madang.
“We didn’t expect to score so many points because my advice to the boys was to stick with the game plan and concentrate on the basics with no fancy stuff,”Geno said.
In the other result, NCD beat Southern Highlands 16-12 in extra time to claim the bronze medal.