Kasey King –
The inaugural Ethnic 9s Tournament was an exhilarating display of skill executed at high speed and anyone who enjoys sport would have loved it.
Many would not have known that many of the players were newcomers to the code.
The teams and players had worked hard to ensure that they had the best chance of earning the Championship.
Four teams including Piranhas, GuardiaNZ, Eagles and Sainiks competed in the tournament, playing an exhausting five games each.
Eighteen minutes playing periods per game may not sound long, but when the sun is beating down on you and every action is performed with high intensity, it would be physically and mentally draining.
Those 18 minutes would seem like an hour.
During pool play, there was one clear leader with the Eagles winning 3-3 and looked like a team determined to go all the way to the end of the tournament.
Pool Placing: Eagles (3), Piranhas (2), Sainiks (1) GuardiaNZ (0).
However, in one semi-final, we saw an upset with the Sainiks shifting into another gear, beating the Piranhas 26–14 in what was an exhibition of tries.
Faraz Khan scored all points for the Piranhas with 2 tries, 2 conversions and 1 penalty. For the Sainiks, Homish Lal scored 2, Shakiya Perera 1 and Rocky Khan racked up all the other points with 1 try and 3 conversions.
The Eagles comfortably won their semi-final 48-0 over the GuardiaNZ.
It was therefore the perfect platform for a Grand Final with Eagles vs Sainiks.
What a game it was! The Grand Final was everything we had hoped for; both teams came out firing and determined to win this tournament, throwing everything into it.
The Sainiks started scoring through their speedster Dipak Kumar, before the Eagles bounced back with a try of their own.
It was a titanic struggle with both teams coming close to scoring on numerous occasions before the Sainiks started to dominate through their playmaker Rocky Khan.
The Sainiks went on to score 2 more tries through speedster and player of the tournament Dipak Kumar and Rocky Khan. The final score was 14-6 to the Sainiks.
Final Placing: Champions: Sainiks; Runners Up: Eagles; Third: Piranhas; Fourth: GuardiaNZ
The response from this tournament has been outstanding with positive comments, but more importantly, there is a real desire from competitors to grow it.
CMRL is committed to offering an alternative sport to the Ethnic community and will continue hosting this event along with the thirteen (13)-aside game later in the year.
Anyone interested in playing in the 2015 CMRL Ethnic Competition commencing in August 2015 may contact me.
Kasey King is General Manager, Counties Manukau Rugby League. Phone: 021-2756975