By Martha Deruage
Great defence from the Papua New Guinea Maleos mixed netball team ensured that they beat the Australian Sonix 44-35 in the last match of the Trans Pacific Cup at Sir John Guise Stadium in Port Moresby on Saturday.
The Sonix got off to a great start to lead 10-8 in the first quarter.
But defenders Jeffery Palu and Courtney Abel kept the Sonix at bay to help the Maleos take a 21-18 half-time lead.
The consistency of shooters Maxwell Leka and Lua Rikis saw the Maleos move out to a 32-25 in the third quarter, allowing PNG to close out the match.
Coach Lua Rikis was impressed with the team’s performance, saying it was teamwork that won them the game.
“In the first two games, the players were nervous,” Rikis said.
“But after losing by three points in the second match, we knew we could beat the Aussies.
“With confidence, we wanted to win the last game and I am glad we did.
“Big thanks to the Australians for putting up a great challenge.”
The Maleos mixed team were defeated 41-31 in the first match and 41-38 in the second.
Captain Maxwell Leka said he was pleased to lead the team in the three-match series.
Sonix mixed team coach David O’Hare commended the Maleos, saying it was their defence that won them the last game.
“The Maleos played really well and they deserve this win,” O’Hare said.
“We just love being here in PNG and I am happy that everything went really well.”
The Australian men’s team proved to be more experienced, beating the Maleos men’s outfit 60-28 in the last match.
“We are thankful that Australia agreed to come for the first Trans Pacific cup,” Maleos men’s coach Lawrence Lahari said
“We went up against the best and with our performance, I see that the boys have the potential to improve.”
The Maleos men’s team lost 64-26 in the first match and 60-34 in the second.
“It’s was all about breaking barriers, seeing that netball is considered a women’s sport in the country, so I commend the men who overcame the stigma to take part in the series,” Lahari said.
By Martha Deruage