The women of Queensland Tonga will be desperate to keep the series alive, as they enter game two for the inaugural Freedom for West Papua Cup against Queensland PNG at St Brendans Rugby League club today.
After going down 10-5 in game one of the series, the Tongans will look to make the necessary adjustments in the collision area, to provide themselves a platform to get into rhythm, after falling foul of the ref numerous times at the breakdown in their first encounter.
The keys to victory for the Tongans will lie in their ability to provide more variety to when they take contact and improve their accuracy once there to control the tempo of the game.
In defense, line speed will be of the utmost importance to give the Tongans the best chance of cutting down the space and time of the PNG flyers.
With expected showers today, handling will become a premium and the distribution skills of players like Anna Inoke, Eseta Fangaloka and Tamika Kefu will prove invaluable to being able to expose mismatches for runners like Lome Pahulu, Toakase Filimoehala and Asipau Mafi to take advantage of.
On the flip side, it will be intriguing to see how the expected rain will affect the Queensland PNG team and their normal expansive style of play or whether they will adopt a different approach to the one they used in their first game.
If the conditions play a part to that affect, instead of the usual suspects like Amelia Kuk, Marlugu Dixon and the threats they possess out wide, the PNG hopes will undoubtedly fall squarely on the shoulders of fearless and talented forwards Melanie Kawa and Mirou Kairu and their ability to rally their fellow forwards in behind them to meet the physical Tongan barrage.
If Kawa, Kairu and Co. are able to win the battle to hold the vital middle third of the field their toil should allow their deadly outside backs to do what they do best.
Either way, the physical, tactical battle of both these evenly matched teams will make for fascinating viewing as the series reaches it climax, played to bring awareness to the freedom for West Papua movement.
Game 2 kicks off at 11am at St Brendans Rugby League Club.
Game 3 kicks off at 2pm..