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Ave RLC defend title

The Ave Rugby League Club (Ave RLC) claimed the 2023 Southern Region Rugby League Nines (SRRL 9s) Cup after defeating the Siporo Magpies with a scoreline of 11-6 on Friday, December 1, at Sir John Guise Stadium in Port Moresby.

Interestingly, these two sides met in last year’s decider, where Ave thumped Magpies with a 31-17 win and clinched the nine-a-side Cup.

The Magpies tried to exact revenge on Ave this year but it was in vain, as the lads from Route 400 shattered their hearts once again, snatching back-to-back titles.

It was a neck-and-neck game that ended in a nail-biting thriller, leaving the raucous fans on the edge of their seats. The atmosphere was electrifying.

The relieved and excited Ave RLC coach, Don Pio was lost for words when asked how he felt about his team’s performance, despite going through a minor incident.

“It was a hard game because we had an incident in the quarterfinals (Thursday, November 30), so the games were stopped.

“We played three games today (December 1) and our bodies were weak, but these boys played like warriors and pushed through to defend the title.

“As the defending champions, we came to defend the cup, so I am very happy with the boys,” coach Pio excitedly stated.

The tournament started in November 27 and ended peacefully in December 1. It is an annual event held normally in the first or second week of December every year, and has been running for more than a decade.

The whole objective of hosting the tournament is to bring the youths from the rural villages in the Southern Region together to expose their raw talents and create avenues for the players to excel in their footy careers.

Teams from within the Southern Region like NCD, Central, Western, Gulf, Oro and Milne Bay were eligible to participate in the annual tournament.

In this edition, a total of 44 teams from the aforementioned region have registered their names to partake in the one-week tourney. Of the 44 teams, 32 teams have qualified for the finals. The top 16 vied for the Cup and Plate, while the other top 16 contended for the Bowl and Pennant.

The Director of the SRRL 9s, Ivan Ravu, said he was pleased with the tourney, though a minor hiccup occurred during the quarter finals.

“The tournament ended successfully, despite the issues that happened last night (Thursday, November 30). However, the event was played in the true spirit of sportsmanship. I would like to congratulate Ave for winning the tournament and also congratulate Siporo for putting up a good fight,” Ravu said.

He went on to acknowledge and appreciate the teams who participated in the one-week tournament, especially the teams from the rural villages in the Southern Region.

“My sincere thank you goes to the teams consist of mainly village boys who came all the way from the villages to take part in the tournament. That is what I would like to see younger players to show their potential they have, which is untapped and raw.

“Hopefully, if they can develop their games, they could become future top-players. The platform is for mass participation of the youths and also promoting friendship, network and bringing the youths of the region together in the spirit of sport. Watching the youths from the villages come out to compete was just really an enjoyable sight.”

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