Plenty of fireworks expected
By MITCHELL DALE
COOK Islands are setting themselves up for a 'tribal war' against Polynesian rivals Fiji tonight at Coffs Harbour International Stadium.
The International clash will be a curtain raiser for the Coast-Valley Allstars match-up with USA Tomahawks, but the Cook Islands are psyching themselves up to be the headline act.
Cook Islands coach Bushy Konito predicted there would be plenty of fireworks in the opening exchanges.
"It will be no holds barred, Polynesian football is always tough," Konito says.
"There are two island Nations playing, it will be a tribal war."
While Konito predicted a fierce encounter, he played a straight bat when asked whether his troops were confident of victory.
"I think it would be wrong to big-note," he said.
"Instead, I would rather we bring humility and just try to play our best.
"Our record stands that we have beaten them in our last three matches, I will leave it at that.
"But prior to that we had never beaten them."
Konito said two of the Nation's most famous rugby league exports, Kevin Iro and Matt Rua, had been working hard to build the game on the tiny island.
"They are starting to present doorways for players with potential," he said.
Meanwhile, Fiji will be out to improve on defensive flaws that rail-roaded their Sevens campaign on the weekend.
"They were very disappointed with their own performances on the weekend," Fiji coach Mal Fittler said.
"They realise they didn't tackle and defend like they should have and are looking forward to redeeming themselves.
"The players are ready for a tough match, but they're confident of coming away with a win.
"They believe this match will be more suited to them than seven-a-side."