WOMEN'S rugby is taking off with the announcement of the inaugural Papua New Guinea Raggianas development squad. The squad was named following the highly successful Rookies Sevens tournament for women and Under 19 boys last Thursday and Friday at the Lloyd Robson Oval in Port Moresby. Rookie Sevens chairperson and womens rugby chief Cybele Druma said that it is hoped that they would be able to send a final PNG Raggianas side to the Darwin Sevens tournament slated for January 20-21 next year. “Sponsorship would play a big role in acquiring that objective though,” she added. She also took the opportunity plead for potential sponsors to contact her on Ph. 323 5251. The resonance of their activity has pitched nationwide. Druma said they received an invitation from Goroka to play.
“Interest continues to grow everyday and we are a determined lot to make this concept work down the track,” she added. It was an eye-opener for both the players and spectators, to say the least. Accustomed to seeing only men getting into the rough stuff is set to be a thing of the past…according to these determined women. The two-day competition for the four teams sought to itemise the best from the rest. Not only did the women come to show they could play, but they also reveled in entertaining the crowd with their newly acquired skills. There were a number of highlights but those that stuck would have to be the one-woman demolition queen Jackie Maso with her big hits and the try-scoring antics of her Stocks & Partners Brumbies team mate Pauline Arazi.
The obvious crowd favourite was Margaret “scruffy” Naua from the NACS & VK Warriors side with team mate and touch-rugby representative Alice Theodore. That’s not to forget the heavy-handed defensive antics of props Cybel Druma and Dorcas Marenjambi who peppered the opposition with their smothering hits. The Island Club Ende Yomba halves combination of Ruth Omenefa and Richanda Kassman was a feature combination which led to the play-off in the final. However, it was the Tisa Nadis combination of Naomi Haro, Joyce Idonis, Susie Tongia and Kylie Benny that stole the show with their ability to create openings to score. Tisa Nadis won K2500 for winning the Cup, Niel Daniel’s Island Club Ende Yomba the Cup runner-up and K500, NACS & VK Warriors in third and Stocks & Partners Brumbies in fourth. In the Under-19 boys, the Cup winners were LaSallians coached by former star PNG Sevens international and former PNGRFU chairman Soiat Williams. LaSallians pocketed K2500 after beating Defence in the Cup final.
The plate winners were Wari Vele Taurama Diggers and Hohola the Bowl winners. Both beat the spirited Elevala Village side and Gerehu Rats respectively. Individual trophies: Best Defender – U19 – Roger Laka, Best Defender – Women – Jackie Maso, Best Attacker – U19 – Andrew Samson, Best Attacker – Women – Richanda Kassman, Top Try Scorer – U19 – Steven Jacob, Top Try Scorer – Women – Pauline Arazi, Most Flamboyant Player – U19 – Ricky Sauaraba, Most Flamboyant Player – Women – Margaret [Scruff] Naua, Rookie of the Tournament – U19 – Arron Kare Rookie of the Tournament – Women – Lydia Evosa, Most Valuable Player (MVP) – U19 – Baron Kengi, Most Valuable Player (MVP) – Naomi Haro. The PNG Raggianas development squad: Naomi Haro, Sarah Tsiamalili, Kila Karara, Lydia Avosa, Jane Buku, Emily Jabb, Cybele Druma, Richanda Kassman, Susanna Tongia, Suzie Kapua, Joyce Mokis, Sylvia Magaru, Fiona Magaru, Rutha Meu Omenefa, Joyce Idonis, Aiyenu Tabua, Kylie Benny, Felicity Paru, Iga Oki, Margaret Naua, Jennifer Tigilai, Alice Theodore, Annabelle Robby.