By ZACHERY PER
A VERY entertaining golden oldies rugby league match between Zogi Greats and Country Greats opened the Gahuku off-season grand final on Sunday.
The two sides, with players whose age ranged between 40 and 55 years, played for the Stanley Gene Cup at the Goroka National Day Park.
Zogi, who scored the first try, were eventaully awarded the cup.
Goroka rural local level government president Jeffery Sasuo, playing at five-eighth for Zogi, put up a bomb in Country’s in goal which was fumbled by fullback Philip Guimap.
Zogi centre Simon Steven scooped up the loose ball to score near the uprights for an easy conversion to put Zogi in front 6-0.
Country did their best to even the ledger and worked hard to set up centre Pale Ess, who scored a runaway try, Elyson Ketauwo converted to equalise 6-6 at half time.
The two sides, featuring several grandfathers and short on match fitness, failed to score any points in the second half.
Organisers decided to give the win to Zogi Greats as they scored the first try of the match after a drawn scoreline at the end of play.
A generous son of Goroka Ron Napitalai, who was really impressed with the old hands getting back onto the field, donated K200, K100 to each side.
He suggested the Golden Oldies match be made an annual event as it was a very good initiative to get old players back on the field.
Captains of Zogi Councillor Keko Kokao thanked the organisers for giving them an opportunity to come back on to the field and touch the ball again.
He also thanked Napitalai for the donation and Stanley Gene for the cup and all the retired footballers who laced on their boots for some fun.
Skipper for Country Philip Guimap also acknowledged the support and thanked all players for making the effort.
The grand final between Amuke Electrical Nagamiufa Sharks and Seng Da Golouka Nokotis ended in violence at full time.
Organisers will decide the result of the match this week before they give away the Stanley Gene shield.
Sharks were leading with 14-12 when the fight broke out between spectators from both sides.