8 Dec 2021

In brief: Sports news from around the Pacific

4:27 pm on 8 December 2021

Koroisau signs new deal; new Solomons football trophy; and Hunters coach hurdles a barrier

Hooker signs with Tigers

Fijian hooker Api Koroisau has signed with the Wests Tigers on a three-year deal.

Koroisau, who is fresh off his premiership-winning season at the Panthers, has become the fifth NRL player to settle his future with a rival club for 2023 this off-season.

The 29-year-old, who re-joined the Panthers in 2020, is the second player recruited by the joint venture for the 2023 season after Parramatta forward Isaiah Papali'i agreed to terms last week.

Api Koroisau.
Vodafone Warriors v Manly Sea Eagles. NRL Rugby League. Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland, New Zealand. Friday 9 August 2019. © Copyright photo: Andrew Cornaga / www.Photosport.nz

Photo: Photosport Ltd 2019

Koroisau's pending Wests Tigers move will be for two seasons with a mutual option for a third.

The Fijian representative began his NRL Telstra Premiership career at South Sydney before linking with the Panthers in 2015.

He later joined Manly on a three-year deal before Panthers coach Ivan Cleary lured him back to Penrith in 2020, where he made his Origin debut this season.

New cup will boost national game in Solomons

A new football competition is to be held in the Solomon Islands, starting from February.

The President's Cup will pit the country's top three club sides and two best provincial sides against each other.

The Solomon Islands Football Federation says the cup will provide valuable game time for players set to feature in the national team at the World Cup preliminary competition in March.

The Cup will feature S-League champions Central Coast FC, runners-up the Solomon Warriors and the third-ranked Waneagu United, along with 2020 Solomon Cup winners Western Tomoko and runners-up Malaita Eagles.

SIFF Competitions Director Gerald Oiaka said with the Telekom S-League season having finished up in October, the President's Cup is a good way to ensure national team players remain match fit.

The competition is set to start on February 5, with the final planned for February 19 at Lawson Tama Stadium in Honiara.

The Solomon Islands national team meanwhile has been named in Group A for the preliminary competition in Qatar, alongside Tahiti, Vanuatu and either Tonga or Cook Islands.

Oceania Home of Football completed

The long-standing dream of a dedicated hub for football in Oceania is now a reality following completion of the Oceania Football Confederation Home of Football in Auckland, which is being called Te Kahu o Kiwa.

The complex will house OFC's New Zealand staff and serve as a base for visiting personnel and teams from the confederation's 11 Member Associations and two Associate Members.

In addition to the administration space, it will feature two artificial pitches and dressing rooms suitable for hosting elite matches.

OFC General Secretary Franck Castillo said the complex will play a crucial part in the confederation's goal of seeing two Oceania nations competing at the FIFA World Cup 2026 and the FIFA Women's World Cup 2027.

Language barrier hurdled for Hunters coach

PNG Hunters coach Matthew Church says the inclusion of Stanley Tepend and Paul Aiton as his assistants will improve communication between him and the players.

The Australian has said English was the second or third language for most of the players who played under him in the 2021 Queensland Intrust Super Cup season.

He says he has had to use a whiteboard to get his ideas across.

But he says with assistant coaches Tepend and Aiton both fluent in Tok Pisin that will be a great help.

Meanwhile, Church warned his 32-man train-on squad that they would be replaced if they did not work hard at training.

Church has already let two players go, Brendon Gotuno and Norman Brown, for that reason.

Athlete's having a Baul

Athlete Daniel Baul won four individual titles at the Papaua New Guinea national championships in Kimbe at the weekend.

Daniel Baul ran a blistering 47.1 seconds in his heat of the 400 metres, the joint second fastest hand-held time by any PNG athlete.

Baul won the final in a slightly slower time and he also took out the 100 metre Hurdles, 400 metre Hurdles and the 200 metre.

In other events - George Yamak came close to beating the national record in winning the men's 1500 metres, while Siune Kagl won both the 5000 and 10,000 metre titles.