Players representing the Cook Islands celebrate their success in their last Coffs Harbour ?test?.
Players representing the Cook Islands celebrate their success in their last Coffs Harbour ?test?.

Call to battle

By BRAD GREENSHIELDS

MANY still recall the intensity of the Fiji Bati versus Cook Islands meeting two years ago at the BCU International Stadium on Australia Day.

The competing pre-match hakas when the uninitiated assumed that there would be a full-on melee between the two combatants, the big hits and refusal of either side to give an inch are memories that local league fans hope will be revisited this evening during their 'test' match.

In fact the Cook Islands are promising that tonight's affair could be even more torrid than the monster mash that was put on 24 months ago.

When asked if his team was going to adopt a physical approach to the match, coach Bush Konito's answer summed it all up.

"What do you mean adopt? These boys were born with that approach," he half joked.

"It's going to be physical like always when the Cook Islands play."

The island nation would want to lift their intensity tonight considering that it was just over three months ago when the Fiji Bati team handed them a footballing lesson to win convincingly 40-4.

Konito says that there were a few reasons for that scoreline, the quality of personnel in both teams the main one.

"That was the international team that we played against and that tournament wasn't a true indication of what could've happened," he said.

"We had a lot of players missing because of work commitments. Even the old fella Kevin Iro had to pull the boots on for us because none of our players get paid to play for us, they play from the heart."

Tonight's Cook Islands team will feature a stronger line-up according to the coach with a large portion of the team coming from the Premier League, Jim Beam Cup and Queensland Cup competitions.



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