The National, Thursday 20th September, 2012
HIGHLANDS Zone were crowned the National Under-17 champions yesterday after beating New Guinea Islands 15-6 in the final game of the PNG NRL Bid driven Coca Cola National All Schools Rugby League championships.
NGI lock Himson Lavu lurched onto a cross-field kick from five-eighth John Ragi Jr and weaved his way through the Highlanders’ defence to post the Islanders’ consolation try, but the result had been decided well before the end.
Highlands wing Junior Vanuga dived over the line for a try halfway into second half to seal the match.
“That is their first championship win,” PNGNRL Bid chief executive officer Brad Tassell said at the end in reference to the Highlands Zone win.
“I’m very excited about the talent that was on show in the two days. We have unearthed some skillful and talented kids after yesterday and today.
“Even more exciting is that there is talent here that we can build on.”
The squad that selectors Shane (Morris), Jason (Tassell) and Arnold (Krewanty) will finalise from here is the squad that we will build on for the upcoming junior calendar.”
Tassell was referring to NRL Bid Development Officers and coaches Morris, Tassell and former Kumul and national chairman of selectors Krewanty.
The final event of the day brought to a close to two days of young potential players showing cause in their plight to be seen from around the country.
Hailed by dignitaries on Tuesday morning as the avenue for the unearthing of the next generation of stars, the future of rugby league, the championships was sparked with exhilarating speed combined with fresh talent.
Northern Zone took out the Under-15 title 18-6 over Southern Zone, while the U15 third place went to NGI, who beat Highlands 10-4.
In the U17 third place play-off, Northern beat Southern 11-0.