Rikis on comeback trail

Normal, Sports

The National, Thursday October 10th, 2013


LISTED as one of the country’s top goal shooters, Lua Rikis has once again made her return to the team after been out of the spotlight for half of the year.

Rikis has been a huge part of the Pepes for the past six years and is making a comeback after taking time off for family commitments.

The hardworking dynamic Rebels goal shooter was named in the 2013 Nations Cup train-on team, who will undergo a trial over October 19-20 to make the cut for the final 12 spots.

Papua New Guinea Netball Federation president Julienne Leka-Maliaki is focusing on preparing a strong team for several major tournaments coming up in the next two-eight months.

Leka-Maliaki said yesterday it was the federation’s objective to improve its world ranking starting with the Six Nations Cup in Singapore from December1-7, where PNG will fight to finish in the top three against Sri Lanka, Singapore, Uganda, the United States of America and the Republic of Ireland.

“PNG is ranked 17th and this tournament will be a good opportunity for us to better our ranking,” Leka-Maliaki said.

She stressed that the Six Nations Cup would be a good build-up for the 2015 Pacific Games in Port Moresby and the federation was putting all its efforts in at trying to prepare the best team for the 2015 Pacific Games.

“We are working on preparing a strong team for the 2014 Pacific Netball Series in Cook Islands,” she said. 

“The PNS will be the qualifier for the 2015 World Cup in Sydney and we are aiming at finishing in the top two to qualify for World Cup.” 

Trials for the Six Nations Cup are scheduled for the Sir John Guise Stadium and that is where newly-elected national selectors Evanelia Kini, Iamo Launa, Annie Iamo, Pole Kassman and Alurigo Ravusiro will select the final 12-member squad plus three non-travelling reserves.

A further 60 players will be selected from the recent National Netball Championships to make the elite senior squad and the development squad as part of PNG netball’s development programme for 2014 in its preparations for future tournaments.

Leka-Maliaki said the core team that went to the Pacific Netball Series in Samoa in June would be a huge part of the Six Nations Cup team. “It’s going to be interesting to see these talented girls trial. Because it comprises of a couple of key U21 Junior Pepes mixed with the open senior team,” she said.

The team in training: Shooters –Tiata Baldwin, Maleta Roberts (Australia), Rayleen Andrew, Marypaul Buehler, Albertine Ehari, Lua Rikis (Port Moresby), Kapa Mailia, Paruru Vaieke (Motu-Koita), Jephet Tulapi (Lagatoi). Centre court – Winnie Mavara, Gase Moka, Kula Iamo, Richandah Kassman, Marinama Maha, Kimberly Alex, Shannah Dringo (Port Moresby), Nerrie Adula (Lae), Cheryl Renagi, Winifred Parker (Australia), Philomena Naime, Aiva Suve (Kairuku-Hiri). Defenders – Kilala Owen, Margaret Eka, Kapu Kapi, Susan Wellington, Nancy Kapi, Vili Nopiri (Port Moresby), Tau Galewa (Central), Edea Gamu (Kairuku-Hiri), Courtney Abel (Australia).