WEEK 1 REVIEW: LOGAN INALA SMASH THEIR WAY TO THE FRONT

The Logan Inala boys of Kalapu Mohetaha have surged to the top of the competition ladder after an impressive undefeated start to their Tupi Cup campaign, held at St Brendan’s Rugby League club over the weekend.

True to the identity of Logan Inala teams in decades gone by, the boys in green relied heavily on their power  and brutality to set the foundation for both of their victories.

Logan Inala clinched a hard fought, last minute 14 -10 win against a much improved Northside Tongan Barbarians outfit who also seem to be ready to make a legitimate tilt at the title this year.

Backrowers Chazz Mahina, Simana Halaifonua and Victor Mafi were at their brutal best and their battle against the Barbarian backrow of Kristian Satui, Christian Filipine and Efitusi Ma’afu was a violent masterpiece of the great backrow talent in the Tongan community.

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In their second game against the Vikings, despite a brave and spirited performance, particularly via forward Sinave Fonoti and rookie half Joey Kaliopasi, the newcomers were still eventually put away by their southside foes.

Logan Inala were constantly able to quickly shift wide and expose overlaps or mismatches after piercing past tiring Vikings through the middle with the final score 24 – 7.

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Talent for the future: Joey Kaliopasi. Photo Credit: John Loyolla Vakalahi

The faultless start signals Logan Inala’s intentions to go one better than their runners up medal earned the previous year when they went down to Alamuhu.

The defending champions got out of blocks slowly in their first clash against a plucky Northside Tongan Vikings effort led by their impressive backrower and captain Tony Kaliopasi.

Reportedly though, after a dressing down for the ages by Alamuhu coach Lopeti Piutau at halftime, the boys in the red, white and black piled responded the pleas of their coach and put on a quickfire 30 unanswered points to overwhelm the Vikings and win 35 -0.

After finding his mojo in the second half, experienced Alamuhu flyhalf Sebastian Filipe had the ball on a string.

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Sebastian Filipe. Photo Credit: John Loyolla Vakalahi

Alamuhu’s final game of the afternoon against the Barbarians was an intense affair with huge implications for the finals week for both teams.

With both teams realising the importance of the game to their respective campaigns, both teams went into battle and gave absolutely no regard for their bodies as they threw themselves into every collision with wreckless abandon

Silent Alamuhu assassin Paul Mafi tackeld himself to an absolute standstill his tackle on winger Isaac Weier sending a shudder through the crowd, as the evergreen James Sua and rookie back Sione Feao were also able to consistently ask questions of the Barbarians on both sides of the football for the Alamuhu team.

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Still Got It, Alamuhu’s James Sua. Photo Credit: John Loyolla Vakalahi

However, the sky blue boys from the Northside  were able to weather the Alamuhu storm time and time again and then take advantage of rare opportunities when they were presented to them.

Despite a busted a shoulder and dislocated finger Barbarian captain Sitanisilao Satui led from the front, while tenacious half back Lua Vailoaloa and flyhalf Somi Pulu also did a magnificent job at releasing pressure for their team before the latter was able to knock over a clutch penalty, minutes from time to give the Barbarians the tightest of victories, 8-7 over the defending champs and keep their cup hopes alive for another week.

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Standout halfback Lua Vailoaloa. Photo Credit: John Loyolla Vakalahi

In the first best of three game series for the inaugural “Freedom for West Papua Cup” played between the Queensland PNG and the Queensland Tonga  women’s teams, Queensland PNG claimed the vital first victory of the series winning 10-5.

As expected, Queensland PNG employed an expansive game as they probed for gaps in the fringes of the Tongan defense.

Meanwwhile, Tonga employed the opposite tactic trying to win the collision in close to find their opportunities, the contrasting styles made for intriguing viewing as both teams wrestled for control of the game.

Marlugu Dixon and Amelia Kuk were  at  their absolute  best for the Queensland PNG team while newcomers Lome Pahulu and Toakase Filimoehala looked destructive anytime they touched the ball and look like exciting prospects for the future.

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Queensland Tonga’s Lome Pahulu charges into the Queensland PNG defense. Photo Credit: John Loyolla Vakalahi

At the conclusion of the day’s play Logan Inala’s Simana Halaifonua was named by Fa’aleo Tupi himself as the first day’s “Best on Ground” and took with him a $200 award for his efforts throughout the day.

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