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Orchids new line-up poise to meet Moanas

Updated: Oct 23, 2023

Santos PNG Orchids - Pacific Championship. (Photo Credit: Santos PNG Orchids).

The Santos Papua New Guinea (PNG) Orchids' new line-up, with the inclusion of National Rugby League Women's (NRLW) players, are confident to take on the Cook Islands Moana on Sunday, October 22, 2023, in a Pacific Championship Women’s challenge at the Santos National Football Stadium (NFS) in Port Moresby.

The Orchids will be led by captain and Parramatta prop Elsie Albert, who has returned from injury. Albert will be a big boost to the team in leading the forward pack upfront with fellow NRLW stars, such as Cowboys Essay Banu and Jessikah Reeves.

In the halves, experienced player Sera Koroi will partner with five-eight Ua Ravu, forming a formidable spine along with fullback Latoniya Norris-Addo.

In the centers, Shellie Long and Belinda Gwasamunag retained their positions as in the Prime Minister’s XIII fixture against Australia last month, with Freda Waula and Lyiannah Allan playing in the wings.

“This is a new squad, coming together and working hard to put up a strong game against our opponent,” said prop Gloria Kaupa.

“Some of the girls in the team came through the local competitions, so we know our game and team combination. Those who came from overseas (NRLW) brought in their experiences to the team,” she added.

With the new line-up, Ben Jeffries-coached side are determined to come strong against the Moanas.

Despite being thrashed by the highly experienced Australian side in the Prime Minister's XIII match with a disappointing scoreline of 56-4, the girls are ready to be back to prove their worth against the Moanas, having the fact that both teams are balanced in terms of player compositions.

Like the Orchids, the Moanas also have an impressive lineup of star players, including former Kiwi Fern Toru Arakua (co-captain), one-time New Zealand representatives Kiana Takairangi and Crystal Tamarua, the Raiders NRLW Kere Matu, and the sibling duo Annemarie and Chantay Kiria-Ratu who combine in the spine, with Annemarie at fullback and Chantay as five-eighth.

Both teams also have a few debutants who will make their first-ever appearances in this Pacific Championship encounter.

The promising Orchids will play their first Pacific test match against Moana. After falling into the hands of Australia, the Orchids-outfit are determined to prove their competitiveness against the Moanas in the opener on Sunday, 22 October at NFS.

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