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Dadi Toka Nines Grand final

The 2023 Dadi Toka Pepsi Nines (9s) Grand Final was held at Sir Hubert Murray Stadium over the weekend. It was a three days tournament (April 19th – 22rd, 2023). The tournament had started last year. This year would be its second year of running. A total of thirty-two (32) teams have participated in the tourney. The seven men’s code has attracted hundreds and thousands of fans residing near Konedobu and Hanuabada, including other rugby league mad supporters living in the city.

The Hanuabada Hawks pioneering legends in the 90s have opened the big dance and entertained the fans and spectators in the curtain-raiser match. Team Yellow defeated Team Blue 10-4 to win the friendly. The legends looked old and rusty, but they rose to the occasion and delivered a mouthwatering contest.

There were three grand finals being played in different categories on Saturday, April 23rd, 2023. The three grand finals were entertaining and interesting to watch. The grand finalists did not disappoint. They lived up to the hype and expectations of the fans, commentators, sponsors and fans.

The first grand final for the Balls Category was played between SS Dolphins and Young Bloods. SS Dolphins edged out Young Bloods in a 11-10 nail-biting finish. The victors received a K2, 500 prize money, while the losers got K1, 500. Martin Paisu of SS Dolphins won the Man-of-the-Match with a prize money of K200.

The second grand final for the Plate Category saw the HB Brothers clashing against Buria Reds. Buria Reds defeated HB Brothers 25-22. The winners received a prize money of K5, 000 whilst the losers got K2, 000. Heni Ravau of Buria Reds bagged the Man-of-the-Match with a prize money of K200.

In the final and biggest game for the Cup Category, the Poreporena Marlins went head-to-head against South City Rams. Marlins edged out Rams in a 13-11 thriller to claim the 2023 Dadi Toka Pepsi 9s Trophy. The Champions walked away with K10, 000 prize money, while the runners-up received a consolation prize money of K4, 000. Ravu Ravu of Poreporena Marlins snatched the Man-of-the-Match with a prize money of K200.

Gahuna Sailas, who was playing with the HB Brothers, has won the Player of the Tournament Award with a prize money of K200. The former PNG Hunters versatile player has also bagged the Top Points Scorer of the Tournament, while Josh Ariko snatched the Top Try Scorer of the Tournament with a K200 prize money.

The Coordinator of Dadi Toka Pepsi 9s Tournament, Arthur Patrick, said he was pleased and happy to see the tourney ended on a positive note.

“The tournament has been a success. I am proud of my organizers, sponsors, players, coaching staff and team management of each team, fans and media personnel for pulling off a successful tournament. There are obviously challenges, but we will work towards improving that and host a bigger and better tournament next year,” said Mr. Patrick.

“We are thankful to Pepsi for coming on board to sponsor the tournament. They have sponsored us last year as well. We look forward to their continuous sponsorship next year and into the future,” added Patrick.

There were controversies and few hiccups in the tourney, but it has ended on a peaceful, trouble-free and successful note. Everyone had a memorable and enjoyable 2023 Dadi Toka Pepsi 9s Tournament.

Photo credit: Dadi Toka Mbe

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