The PNG Kokomos Women’s Open team love their football. In just their second year in QPICC, they have progressed in leaps and bounds under the guidance of coach, Ricky Pon. The PNG girls are a mixed bunch experience-wise. Some have little to no rugby league experience, some have a touch football background and play with our Touch Football associates, QLD PNG Maganis. We have a few who play rugby league in weekend competition.
Our Kokomos ladies are much, much smaller and younger than their competitors. One, Quinnie Warin, wouldn’t stand any higher than 4ft 10 or 147 cm, but such is the heart and passion of these players that they take the field undaunted by the size of their opponents and give it their best shot anyway.
The girls had played the Indigenous team early in the day and were beaten 22-4. Their next match, against Tonga, was looking again to be another David and Goliath battle.
In the opening passage of play, T’Keyah Leong went down injured. Leong is pivotal in steering the girls around the park and providing much needed direction, so it was a relief when she finally resumed play.
Tonga staked their claim on the match with the first converted try putting them ahead 6 points to nil.
Despite the battling the much larger pack, and size being a real issue, PNG let the ball do the work getting it out wide to Valma Tsang whose speed over 40 metres had PNG score their first try for the match. Angelena Watego missed the extras.
PNG were now 4 points to Tonga’s 6.
Quinnie Warin made a break and offloaded to Esmee Kae but were unable to complete the set. Such was the scorching heat that both team captains agreed to stop the match for a desperately needed water break.
As they resumed the match, PNG put together a strong defensive game to keep the Tongan girls at bay and earned themselves a changeover.
Kia Henry made a break but was unable to take advantage when the half time siren sounded. The half time score PNG 4 to Tonga 6.
The girls came back from the half determined to win the match and managed to put Gemma Schnaubelt into space running on to score the Kokomos second try for the match. The Kokomos women’s open team had put themselves in front, PNG 8 to Tonga 6.
Kiera McLean earned a penalty after Tonga stripped the ball. They took the quick tap but were unable to score handing possession back to Tonga. Josephine Wong, who had travelled from Darwin to take part in QPICC, pulled off a text book tackle to prevent another Tonga try.
In the closing stages of the match, Angelena Watego put in a pin-point perfect kick into the corner, with the whip-fast Esmee Kae, chasing it down and grounding the ball for the Kokomos.
The score now PNG 12 to Tonga 6.
The Tongan girls refused to give up and the Kokomos women did its best to keep the Tongan women from their line but the much bigger forwards were able to crash PNG’s party and giving them the opportunity to make it a draw. According to the QPICC rules and regulations, a draw would give the win to Tonga as they were the first try scorers.
The crowd held their breath as Tonga took the kick. The PNG girls screamed their happiness as they watched the Tongan kick fall short of the posts.
The Kokomos Women’s Opens had recorded their first victory beating the Tongans 12 – 10.
PNG were defeated by the even bigger Samoans in the following match and the Samoans went down to the Indigenous team who won the Women’s Open final.
Kia Henry was named QPICC’s Most Valueable Player for PNG Kokomos.
The countdown to the 2017 QPICC Carnival has begun. In preparation for their campaign to secure their QPICC titles the Kokomos u16 boys and Women’s teams played trial matches against QPICC newcomers, QLD Niue. The trial match was conducted in scorching heat at Bill Norris Oval in Beenleigh on Saturday, 30th September, 2017
The Women’s team had a mix of players returning from last year’s inaugural team and new players of varying experience. What our girls gave away in height and weight was certainly made up for in passion, heart and determination.
The opening try came from Esme Hiri who made a break from forty metres out. A neat step had the Niue girls beaten and Hiri looked to put the ball down under the post but unselfishly passed the ball to team mate, Shentia Chow, who scored the try.
Hiri kicked the two points to put the Kokomos in front 6-0.
The Niue girls made it clear that this was going to be a real contest by hitting back minutes later with a try by Sianequa Knight but missed the kick. At the end of the first quarter the PNG girls were in front 6-4.
A minute into the second half and Esme Hiri extended the Kokomos lead with an individual runaway try and successful conversion. This allowed the PNG to extend their lead to 12-4.
Sianequa Knight went over for her second try of the day just before half time adding another four points to their tally. The PNG girls went into the half time break with a four point lead over their Niue counterparts. The score PNG 12 – Niue 8.
The newcomers were keen to secure their first victory in the first game and came into the third quarter running hard and fast and looked to add another try to their tally when Niue’s Salaima Frost unfortunately dislocated her knee and was taken from the field.
The PNG women maintained their momentum and Emma Fuller scored out on the wing. Hiri’s kick was unsuccessful. PNG’s lead was now 16 to Niue’s 8.
Niue refused to concede defeat and doubled-down on their efforts. They consistently pressured the PNG defensive line and were rewarded for their efforts with at try but failed to convert. The score PNG 16 – Niue 12.
With success in their sights the Niue girls continued to probe the Kokomos defensive line looking for a gap. The crowd were on their feet cheering in the last stanza as the PNG girls, many whom were playing for the Kokomos for the first time, dug deep, pulled together and repelled the continued attack from Niue.
The PNG Kokomos Women’s team were rewarded for their incredible defensive efforts with a 16-12 win over Niue.
Their first outing for the 2017 looks very promising. It will be interesting to see how the Women’s team progresses over the next month as they work with Senior Coach, Ricky Pon.
WOMENS GAME 2: NZ 0 V AUSTRALIA 8
Chelsea Baker crashed over for the first try following a period of Jillaroos domination in the first half. Sam Bremner scored another one for the Jillaroos follows after a deft kick and plenty of pace from the chasers. The ferns had one chance at the end of the second half but Australia were doing everything right and held a mountain of possession.
A bit of back and forth early in the second half with no score but it is all being played in the Ferns own half. Kezie Apps came off injured midway through the second half. She had left the field earlier to have her head strapped for a cut but she had to leave again again after hyperextending her ankle.
No further score as full time is blown. The Jillaroos win the match and the series with a second consecutive win.
The QLD PNG Kokomos Rugby League Committee would like to congratulate Kokomos Women’s representative, Amelia Kukk, on being named in the Australian Jillaroos side to compete in the 2017 Auckland Nines. This is an enormous achievement and one to be proud of. On behalf of all Kokomos, we wish you every success!
1. Kezie Apps (NSW), 2. Chelsea Baker (QLD), 3. Annette Brander (QLD), 4. Brittany Breayley (QLD), 5. Sam Bremner (NSW), 6. Ali Brigginshaw (QLD), 7. Karina Brown (QLD), 8. Allana Ferguson (NSW), 9. Kody House (QLD), 10. Amelia Kukk – debut (QLD), 11. Renae Kunst (QLD), 12. Corban McGregor (NSW), 13. Caitlin Moran (NSW), 14. Ruan Sims (NSW), 15. Maddie Studdon (NSW), 16. Simaima Taufa (NSW)
Kiwi Ferns Squad
Alexandra Cook, Amber Kani, Atawhai Tupaea, Georgia Hale, Honey Hireme, Kahurangi Peters, Kimiora Nati, Krystal Rota Lanulangi, Veainu Lilieta Maumau, Luisa Gago, Ngatokotoru Arakau, Nora Maaka, Sarina Fiso, Tanika-Jazz Noble, Teuila Fotu-Moala
Coach Ricky Pon has announced his team to compete in the QPICC Carnival for 2016. Congratulations girls and all the best of luck in the QPICC Carnival!