SAROA Seida Raiders ended their fairytale finals run in the 3 Suns Rigo League competition on a perfect note lifting the Somare Cup on Saturday after the grand final defeating Kilivana Saints 12-8.
Raiders were deservedly crowned the kings of the 3 Suns Rigo League Competition after winning the last eight games including major honours and can now boast as undisputed champions of rugby league in Rigo, Central province.
Raiders were shocked by Kilivana in the opening minutes of the first half when livewire centre Tagi Verave crossed the line after quick hands for an early 4-0 lead.
Captain and five-eighth Tom Simon was on a roll for the Kilivanas early on coordinating the Kilivana attack.
The boys from Ginimare (Raiders) struck back in the 28th minute to take back the lead when winger Henry Mareva barged his way through to score after latching on to a pass from halfback Jobby Mairi, while Moki Leva converted.
The two teams went into the sheds with scores 6-4 to Raiders.
Raiders’ centre Joko Mahuta scored under the uprights midway through the second half to further extend the lead 12-4.
The last 15 minutes of the match went down to the wire with Kilivana’s captain Tom Simon pushing his troops to step up their attack but Raiders had the fire extinguisher loaded to defuse the late rally.
Kilivana forward Nogi Nogi inspired by his captain’s courage crossed for four pointer in the 77th minute but it was too little too late as the conversion handing the Raiders the inaugural Somare Cup in the 3 Suns Rigo rugby league premiership.
Raiders centre Moki Leva said that it was a feeling of satisfaction and commended his boys for the outstanding performance.
“Kilivana is a top side and their performance today was a scare for us but we managed to win the game in the end,” Levasaid.
“It was tight but we got there in the end.”
The Rigo rugby league competition iniated and run by Gwaibo Mairi was described as a success and would be run again next year.
Meanwhile, in the B grade Leksy Buga’s boys Gunugau Bulldogs edged out Devatos 14-10 in a Balawaia encounter.
Unfortunately, a planned visit by members of the visiting Australian PM’s XIII did not eventuate because of time constraints.
In front of more than 2000 fans and after local Member Ano Pala officially started proceedings both teams tore into eachother but it was Raiders hot wining streak of eight matches which gave them the edge.