Basketball teams from Samoa, Australia and New Zealand came together for the 3 Day Samoa Cup Basketball Tournament in Auckland last week (3rd - 5th Jan 18). It's an annual tournament open to all Samoans to participate and for the first time since the tournament started 4 years ago, invitational teams representing the Cook Islands and Tonga (NZ based) participated.
Divisions included Under 16s, Under 19s and Open teams for both Men and Women held at Pulman Arena in South Auckland with the purpose of uniting Samoan players to compete against each other for spots in teams which will be selected in upcoming FIBA events and even to represent Samoa at the Commonwealth games should they qualify.
When the tournament first started 4 years ago there were only 7 teams competing, last year there were 20 and this year it more than doubled with over 40 teams entered boosted by overseas team entries - 5 teams came over from Samoa as well as teams from Samoa Basketball Australia - Victoria, NSW and Queensland.…more
They talk to Mate Ma'a Tonga Prop Andrew Fifita about his decision to play for Tonga, his younger days growing up in West Sydney, gold teeth, KFC & that infamous disallowed try!
* PG recommended - coarse language
Teuila Fotu-Moala of the Kiwi Ferns was announced the best player in the 2017 Women’s Rugby League World Cup, for her standout efforts in each of her games.
She beat out fellow Kiwi Ferns team mate Honey Hireme & Jillaroos star Ali Brigginshaw to take the top award.
The award was announced at the World Cup Grand Final Lunch and also happened to be the 24 year olds birthday!
By Johnny Se'evae Kosokoso
With the semi finals done and dusted, the last hope for fans of a pacific team making the final for the very first time, went up in smoke when Mate Ma’a Tonga came tantalisingly close in the dying moments of semi final 2 against England. In what would have been the greatest come back in Rugby League World Cup history, the Tongan team had scored 3 tries in the last 7 mins of regular time, and had there been an extra minute on the clock, Tonga would have won the game, and the betting agencies would have been put out of business.
Yes it did end in controversial fashion, the match referee ruling a knock on by Andrew Fifita, instead of a one on one strip, that Fifita looked to have gone on and scored. The big question...........…more
And so it comes to this. Kiwi supporters trying to dissect the results of the past two weeks. In this we can tell a couple of things. Firstly, they didn’t expect Tonga to win. Secondly, they didn’t expect Fiji to win either.
But the Bula boys with the most flamboyant afro’s in the competition showed the Kiwi’s that the Fee was in the Gee (Fiji), and unlike David Kidwell’s post match interviews, there was a coherency around this Fiji performance that will have the small islands partying into the wee hours of the morning.
As games go, this one was much tighter than the Kiwi/Tonga bash fest. This was an 80 minute mystery. The type of game that has sports betting agencies on edge. But more importantly, it was a game that proves the island teams are on the rise, and that the Kiwi fan base is in shreds.
Last week the Tongan fans packed the Hamilton stadium, outnumbering the kiwi supporters at least 20:1. This week it looked like I could count the Kiwi supporters on both my feet.…more
Samoan/Aboriginal MMA fighter Tai Tuivasa makes quick work of his opponent knocking out Rashad Coulter in the dying minutes of the first round of his UFC debut!
The flying knee of the man! Don't see too many of those in heavy weight fights!!
He's also made history being the first Aboriginal Australian to sign & fight in the UFC.
He's been Mark Hunts sparring partner for the last 3 years and was in Marks corner at his last fight here in Auckland. “He’s up there with the best,” Hunt said of sparring partner Tuivasa. “He hits hard. He’s up there with ‘JDS’ (Do Santos) ... all the big dogs in the world. And they hit really hard.
Check out some of his highlight reel here -
Video credit: UFC on Fox
Mate Ma’a Tonga – The mighty Tongans topple the mighty Kiwi team with a well placed jandal to the eye.
Last night we saw the RLWC 2017 spring to life. A titanic struggle of Polynesian warriors defying the laws of physics and pound each other to a pulp. If this game kept to script New Zealand should have come out with a few bruises but a win safely in the bag. The only problem was someone forgot to give the Tongan team the memo, that when you are down by 10 odd points you are supposed to roll over and die.
With a full stadium of red and white flags, and Tongan songs in full voice, the Kiwi’s could have been excused for thinking they were playing in Nuku’alofa. The crowd atmosphere was phenomenal and only intensified as the Tongans questioned, then bludgeoned the Kiwi defence. The simple game plan worked. Hard running forwards would muscle up on the New Zealand defense, while the young halves would pepper the New Zealand back three with high balls and a good chase.…more
Meet Daniel Fa'alele, a 6 ft 9, 180 kg Samoan/Tongan, 17 year old out of Melbourne Australia.
He gained a football scholarship to the IMG Academy High School Football team in Florida after a chance meeting with a NFL recruiter in a Melbourne gym and before he'd even played a game in the US he'd already received College scholarship offers from Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida State, Hawaii, Miami, Michigan and Oregon State!
Check out more of his story here in this article on Sports Illustrated
WE’RE READY, ARE YOU!?
In preparation for the big game tomorrow night, we've put together 10 tips for the 'Toa Samoa' & 'Mate Ma'a Tonga' fans who are heading in to support their teams ...
SAMOA - By Mario Faumui
* Bring a helmet, a shield, a bulletproof vest…
And the real tips start now:
1. Get your dance moves ready for those spontaneous dance battles with the aunties around the stadium - let's be real - the Tongans don't play around when it comes to cutting a fala!
2. Learn the words to your National Anthem - You don’t wanna be that guy who knows all the words to Bodak Yellow but can’t remember the 1st verse of your National Anthem!
3. Even though it’s a dress up thing please .....…more
The Rugby League World Cup 2017 kicks off tonight in Melbourne where Australia take on England and our Pacific boys - Toa Samoa, Mate Ma'a Tonga, Fiji Bati & the PNG Kumuls are set to take the field over the next couple of days in the first rounds of pool play.
With there being a lot of discussion & some controversy over a couple of the Tongan players opting to "Turn their backs" on Australia & New Zealand and go with Tonga & their heritage, Toa Samoa have managed to escape a lot of the media focus in the build up to the Rugby League World Cup.
We caught up with some of the boys earlier in the week and asked them their thoughts on playing for their country of heritage, whether they feel like they're coming in as the Underdogs, who the funny guys in the team are & more ...
What do you think about players going to play for their country of heritage?
Frank Pritchard (Captain) I think it’s healthy for the game. It evens up the competition, especially for international rugby.…more