The QLD PNG Open Men’s side has had real difficulty fielding a full side over the past few weeks and this week was particularly difficult. So much so that 45 year old former Kumul, Elias Paiyo, relinquished his coaching duties to Lee Sharp, and pulled on the boots. Paiyo was joined by Jarome, Bruno and Sam Tau who all had not played in years.
The Cook Islanders were quick to rack up the points against a team made up of crack youngsters and a bunch of old blokes who had long hung up the boots. At half time the score was PNG 6 – Cook Is. 14. The six points were courtesy of an Alan White try from a break by Israel Talligatus. LJ Waddups added the two.
The Cook Islanders came back after the second half with another two quick tries, making the score PNG 10 – Cook Is 26. But the Kokomos were not about to give up.
LJ put Seb Samuels through a hole and made a massive break and was tackled on the line. A quick play the ball to LJ Waddups saw him add another 6 points to the scoreboard for PNG with a converted try. Taking the score to PNG 12 – Cook Is 26.
PNG kept the pressure on and Isreal Talligatus, an u18s player who stepped up to fill in for the Men’s Open team scored down the wing. It was a move started by the Kumul veteran, Paiyo, who passed it to Bobby Tau an on to Talligatus – a youngster with real speed to burn. The score now PNG 18 to Cook Islands 26.
Full time was fast approaching and the PNG boys refused to give in. They kept testing the Cook Island defence and eventually found it wanting. A break from the mecurial Alan White put them on the attack. An deft kick from Cameron Boga lead to a try by Brad Frith. LJ Waddups scored the much needed extra two points.
Just two points behind, the Kokomos stayed in the hunt for a win and were on the attack when the full-time whistle beat them.
Not a bad performance for a team that had not only not played together but hadn’t actually played in years! The heart and passion they displayed, is what QLD PNG Kokomos is all about. Never, ever, ever giving in or giving up.
Coach, Elias Paiyo, said that he was proud of their efforts. LJ Waddups took control of the team and successfully steered them around the paddock, and this was backed up with some brilliant individual plays from the younger players. Paiyo was impressed that they stood tall in a team that really was under the pump from the start.
“You can’t be anything but proud,” he said.
Congratuations to Rod Griffin, who obtained his release with the Tigers, to sign a 1 year deal with the Bulldogs. Rod is a Kumul and former Kokomos representative. We wish him every success for the 2017 NRL season.