Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Weekend sports recap with Neueli Mauafu

Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air
Sulu Fitzpatrick in action. Photo: Supplied
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Neueli Mauafu | Reporter


Mystics welcome back captain Sulu Fitzpatrick from injury.

Sulu Fitzpatrick made a successful return to the netball court on Sunday, after a five week hiatus due to a knee injury.

The Mystics captain was given the green light for her return, after successful monitoring and treatment from the medical staff since suffering the injury in round 5 against the Robinhood Stars.

The veteran defender is just two games away from a remarkable 150-game milestone which she is expected to reach next week against the Southern Steel at the Trusts Arena.

Fitzpatrick has so far played 148 top class netball matches in the ANZ Premiership and ANZ Championship Trans-Tasman Netball League.

Her return to court was also celebrated with a win over the rivals Tactix.

Tonga Tala Netball team.

Tonga Tala claim third PacificAus Sports Netball Series title against Malawi.

The Sports and Leisure centre in the Gold Coast played host to the Tonga Tala defeating the Malawi Queens by 13 goals in the PacificAus series final.

Backed by their lively supporters, the Tongan girls powered their way through the strong surge from their Malawi counterparts. A close first half saw the scores separated only by one goal with Tonga in the lead.

The goal line defence from Tonga Tala proved a telling factor, as Malawi failed to secure opportunities for points. The team remained undefeated throughout the whole tournament including their final fixture with Malawi.

A strong second half from Tonga proved to be the difference, as they extended their lead further as the match went on.

Uneeq Palavi of the Tonga Tala team claimed the match MVP, while teammate Hulita Veve was awarded the series MVP alongside Samoa’s Abigail Meafou.

Fiji Bati outside back Marcelo Montoya re-signs with Warriors. Photo: FijiVillage


Fiji Bati outside back Marcelo Montoya re-signs with One New Zealand Warriors for two more seasons.

Popular One New Zealand Warrior outside back Marcelo Montoya is extending his time with the club after re-signing for another two seasons to the end of the 2025 NRL campaign.

The announcement comes as the 27-year-old Fiji Bati international eyes his 100th career appearance in next Saturday’s clash against the Penrith Panthers. Originally joining the club in 2021, this is Montoyas first season based in New Zealand with the club following the team’s exile in Australia.

Warriors coach Andrew Webster described Montoya as a “quality” player who is committed to helping the club in any way possible.

“Marcelo is a terrific player and person to have at our club. He gives so much in all he does,” Webster added.

In just his ninth game of the season, Montoya is averaging close to 160 metres a game which is a career best for him.

Karl Oloapu with family. Photo: Supplied

Young gun Karl Oloapu tributes NRL debut to late father.

It was an emotional weekend for 18-year-old Karl Oloapu, as he made his long awaited debut for the Bulldogs against the Dragons.

The young star had big expectations on his shoulders, after impressing throughout his schoolboy representative career. But surrounded by family and loved ones, he and his team battled it out in a close fought win against the Dragons.

Although it was a special night for Oloapu and his family, the 18 year old dedicated the game to the one person who wasn’t in the crowd, his late father who sadly passed away nine years ago.

“That one was for dad. Just seeing his sacrifices and everything, and for me to grow up how I did is truly special,” Oloapu says.
“We didn’t have much growing up, but I guess we had enough.”

The Bulldogs managed to sneak away with the win in a close 16-18 finish against the Dragons.

Manusina Invitational after their win over Tonga A.


Manusina Invitational impresses against Tonga A in curtain raiser

In the ‘celebration of culture’ round of Super Rugby Pacific, a curtain raiser was held ahead of Moana Pasifika’s fixture with the Rebels between a Manusina Invitational side and Tonga A.

The one off match not only celebrated Pacific cultures, but also the importance of women within the sport of rugby. The match was also used by both sides for their selection processes ahead of the 2023 Oceania Rugby Women’s Championship in May.

Moana Pasifika’s CEO Pelenato Sakalia said that the exciting fixture between the two teams was also made possible through the assistance of Lakapi Samoa and Tonga Rugby Union.

“The Super Rugby Pacific competition is a great platform that celebrates the diversity and culture of the Pacific region,” Sakalia added.

“The double header is another way to bring together our communities and celebrate our shared passion for both men and women’s rugby.”

Manusina proved too strong for their island sisters, running away with a strong 41-10 win.

Moana Pasifika and Fijian Drua suffer losses

Moana Pasifika and Fijian Drua suffer losses in Super Rugby Pacific culture round.

Both Moana Pasifika and Fijian Drua fell short in their matches last weekend, celebrating the SuperRugby Pacific culture round.

Moana went up against the Melbourne Rebels at Mt Smart stadium, losing 33-43 to their Australian rivals. Ill discipline was a major problem for Moana right from the start, conceding three yellow cards throughout the match.

After being behind at half time 7-26, Moana made a courageous comeback in the second half, closing the deficit to just ten points.

They will take on the Blues this week at Eden Park and will hope to bounce back as they are still searching for their first win of the season.

Meanwhile Fijian Drua failed to keep their home crowd advantage winning streak alive, after a loss to the Blues at a packed out Churchill Park in Lautoka. The home team put on a brave effort in front of their fans, but fell short in securing the win.

Blues were victors 30-14, with Drua failing to capitalise on missed try opportunities. A countless number of errors and penalties also marred their efforts, forcing them onto the defensive for much of the game.

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