Tonga and Samoa netters start Aus tourney on the right foot

Photo: Tonga Netball

Defending champs Tonga Tala thrash Singapore 85-40 to open their account on the Gold Coast.

Tonga and Samoa recorded victories in their first round of matches at the PacificAUS Sports Netball Series on the Gold Coast in Australia Monday.

The Pacific’s other teams Papua New Guinea and Fiji were unfortunate not to win their opening matches.

Defending their series title claimed last year the Tala of Tonga thrashed Singapore 85-40 in a thriller of a match to open their account.

In the first quarter the Tonga Tala led 21-12 which they followed up with a strong second quarter earning them a 20-goal lead going into half time with Uneeq Palavi strong in the goal circle and Kelea Iongi turning the ball over in defence.

The defending champions kept their foot on the gas and extended their lead to 31 goals heading into the final quarter and charged home winning 85 to 40.

Samoa also came out firing in their day one clash against Papua New Guinea (PNG) .

Led by captain Abigail Latu-Meafou they quickly established a 10-goal lead in the first quarter and extended that lead in the second to 18.

The PNG Pepes clawed the margin back in the third to only 12 at the final break but the Tifa Moana proved too strong winning the match by 18 goals, 66 to 48.

In the last match of the day, a competitive opening quarter had the Fiji Pearls hot on the heels of the Malawi Queens who led by two goals at the first break.

Spurred on by a lively crowd the intensity lifted in the second quarter with Malawi reacting best to the pressure and breaking away to a seven-goal lead before half time.

Fiji continued to put up a fight in the third quarter, however, Malawi’s connection on the court and their ability to read the play saw them push their lead out further to 12 goals.

Malawi were able to handle the heat though and closed day one with a seven-goal victory, 54-47.

Day two fixtures (AEST) PacificAUS Sports Netball Series

*Zambia v Singapore – 1.30pm

*Malawi v Papua New Guinea – 3.30pm

*Tonga v Kenya – 5.30pm

*Samoa v Fiji – 7.30pm.

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