Natives United, which is the Indigenous Community, finally got the monkey off their back in Harmony Cup 7 and defeated a strong Taranaki side in the final, in extra time.
From Bushrangers to Tonga, teams competed for their heritage and pride in their jersey and the community. This is the 4th edition, with Hawaiki Roa’s Delane Edwards is the only player to feature in all of the previous 3, while Kainoa Gudgeon (Indigenous) is in two of the sides as the only repeat players.
And although there were many players who could be picked in both sides from all the men’s teams, the votes and opinions have been tallied and would like to present the NRL WA Harmony Cup 7 Men’s team of the tournament.
The Men’s side, is obviously only a few peoples opinions, and while there could be 50 names on this list, there had to be some people left out, but without further ado, see the below –
- James Petherick – Ngati Kahungunu – Maori
A crowd favourite for Ngati Kahungunu for a long time, James is a big competitor. Containing a plethora of speed and a knack for finding the try line, he is probably the highest try scorer in Kahungunu history and he doesn’t seem to seem like slowing down. A danger every time he touches the ball.
- Saimoni Qaranivalu – West Oz Nomads – Fiji
In a star studded line up Saimoni is as dangerous as they come. Big. Fast. Amazing footwork. A devastating late offload. The ability to stay in the game all the time. Its almost unfair how physically gifted Saimoni is. Very humble and quiet off the field, with his big step and lighting off the mark pace, he is a terror to matchup.
- Taniela Vi – Papeliane ‘O Tonga – Tonga
While “Nela” is powerul, fast and strong on both sides of the ball, the thing that really sets him a part is his ability to see the game unfold and react. Always seemingly near or around the ball, Nela pushes into space brilliantly and always makes everyone around him better. A beacon for the Tongan’s in Harmony Cup 7, he turned into a real leader.
- Blake Hignett – Hawaiki Roa – Maori – 2nd Selection
Narrowly beating out the always devastating Delane Edwards for this spot, young Blake just continues to improve at Harmony Cup. With his touch football skills coming to the fore, his ability to find space and beat a defender one on one really can cause headaches for all teams. A strong leader from a stable of great players, he seems to look like a natural successor to Edwards on and off the field.
- Bailey Millar – Natives United – Indigenous
The player of the grand final, Bailey doesn’t need an introduction. A devastating fullback, with speed to burn, his balance and natural ability have really come to the fore this year. Able to balance up and hit top speed as soon as he touches the ball, he has a great natural swerve which he uses while still at top speed.
- Tyrone Cranston – Natives United – Indigenous
It was either Cranno or Kade McDonald for this spot, and Cranston kicking the winner in the GF assures his position in the team of the tournament. Absolutely ice cold all weekend, Cranston just knows where to be and when. What he doesn’t get enough credit for is his amazing defensive prowess. A great defender, he shoots out at the right time and shuts down ball runners brilliantly.
- Giovanni Leituala – RLSWA – Samoa
Scoring tries at will, “Gio” was the main reason that RLSWA posed a serious threat to the rest of the competition. A unique blend of speed and strength, he ability to beat defenders and then accelerate past the cover defence meant that he was scoring tries from all over the field. A turbocharged assassin with headgear, Gio was amazing to watch.
- Davey Martin – Taranaki – New Zealand – 2nd Selection
A beaten grand finalist for the 2nd time, Martin’s off the cuff ability translate beautifully into the 9 a side version of the game. While not super fast, he has great vision and the ability to sniff out a try or break from anywhere on the field, and is not given nearly enough respect for his defensive capabilities. Its his second selection in a row, and shows that representing his home means alot to him.
- Keelyn Tuuta-Edwards – Taranaki – New Zealand – Captain
Lucky last it is the big man himself. Probably the most dangerous player inside the 10 metre line in the competition, Keelyn is a human train. Big, strong and fast, he is hard enough to stop when you have 13 men on the field let alone only 9. A great kicked of the ball as well, knocking over numerous tough conversions, he is the easy pick to captain our team of the tournament with his natural calmness and follow me attitude.
Coach – Sape Misa – Perth Samoana – Samoa
Our only quarterfinal team without a player in the team of the tournament, Sape was able to bring together a collection of Samoan talent, and forge them into a dangerous proposition, which was 20 seconds from making the semi finals, if not for a late runaway try to Kahungunu in their quarter final. Calm and collected, along with a great presence, he moulded the team into a cohesive unit which nearly stole the show in Harmony Cup 7.
Congratulations to all the above, but again this list could have had 200 players on it. Well done to all players over the weekend, and we hope to see you back in Harmony Cup 8.
|Men’s Harmony Cup 7 Team Of Tournament|
|1||James Petherick||Ngati Kahungunu|
|2||Saimoni Qaranivalu||West Oz Nomads|
|3||Taniela Vi||Papeliane ‘O Tonga|
|4||Blake Hignett||Hawaiki Roa|
|5||Bailey Millar||Natives United|
|6||Tyrone Cranston||Natives United|
|C||Sape Misa||Perth Samoana|