The National – Tuesday, December 21, 2010
By EKONIA PENI
THE AFL PNG under 16 Aussie rules team are the new Oceania Cup champions after beating host nation Tonga yesterday 51-7 in the grand final.
The final was again a one-sided affair just like the other results the PNG team dominated and thrashed all their opponents from New Zealand, Fiji, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Nauru and Samoa.
Coach Walter Yangomina said the rain yesterday morning had caused playing conditions tobecome tougher especially with handling early in the match.
“When the players settled into the game they displayed great skills and their overall fitness showed out which enabled them to run through their opponents to register another thrashing.”
The centreline players of centreman and vice-captain Theo Gavuri, wingmen Jeconiah Peni and Noel Maguna combined well with the rucks and rovers to drive the ball forward where full forward Brendan Beno and centre half forward Michael Matta rallied the front men to out-smart the Tongan defence to pile on the points for PNG.
The backline led by centre halfback Douglas Kaiva and fullback Vincent Lavu played well too in defence when they restricted the home team to scoring only a goal and a behind.
PNG’s Jason Soong was named the best player of the match, while Theo Gavuri won the player of the tournament award for his dominance in centre field.
The Oceania Cup victory is a fitting finale for PNG who have prepared so well after a year of bonding through the AFL Academy programme at De La Salle Boys Secondary School, and regular training sessions at the UPNG sporting grounds.
And the ultimate result should be credited to the commitment and tireless efforts of the AFL PNG staff including coach Yangomina.
Yangomina said the tournament was attended by AFL International Football executives and there were scouts from Brisbane Lions, Geelong Cats and Hawthorn Hawks throughout the tournament.
The junior Mosquitoes, the new Oceania champions, are scheduled to arrive in Port Moresby tomorrow via Fiji and Australia.