Panthers Claim TNA Cup

Chayil Panthers are the ultimate champions of the 2020/2021 TNA Cup challenge after defeating minor premiers Kupsy Rabittohs 10-4 in the grand final decider played the Kundiawa oval on Sunday.

The young Panthers outfit proved a class above the more fancied Rabbittohs who had a wealth of experience in their lineup.

Prelude to the big grand final showdown on Sunday was the parade of the prestigious TNA Cup in a convoy through Kundiawa town.

A small but significant initiative of Cup sponsor and local business guru Gerard Philip who’s very passionate about bringing rugby league back to Simbu at a different level; even to the extreme of allowing hundreds of fans and supporters free entry into the Dickson arena to watch the big game.

Under a wet and greasy muddy surface, Hagen based referee James Kundi took charge as the two grand finalists took center stage to battle for the Cup.

The first quarter of the opening half was a display of unrelenting defense and amazing ball skills given the slippery conditions.

Favorites Rabbittohs led by veteran skipper Aron Paul was ably assisted by the two halves combination of Dominic Herure and Junior Bal calling the shots for their heavy forward pack pushing forward with the ball hand but the young energetic and committed Panthers outfit held their defensive line well.

Halfway through the first half Panthers shifted gear making use of their speed and agility on the edges with Kundiawa Lutheran Day Secondary student duo John Bang Kale at centre and leftwing Titus Peter causing havoc for the Rabbittohs defenders.

Both teams were scoreless for majority of the first half until Panthers were awarded a penalty within kicking range from Rabbittoh’s goal mouth.

They were able to convert that into two points to open up their scoring spree.

In the insuring play just before half time, Panthers changed their game tactics using kicks, and their efforts were rewarded with back to back tries, taking a commanding lead at 10 -0 over Rabbits until halftime.

As expected after the break, Rabbits got off to a strong start with more resolve on defense and structured set plays to shut off the young Panthers from scoring.

Credit to Rabbittohs perseverance resulting in a four pointer from an overlap on the right edge, but came much too late as the final outcome was already decided in Panthers favor.

At fulltime Chayil Panthers were declared TNA Cup Champions after defeating Kupsy Rabbittohs 10 – 4 and a major cash prize of K10, 000 while Rabbittohs settled for the runners up cash prize of K7,000.

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