By Aiva Tamate-Ore, Port Moresby 2015 Games News Service
PORT MORESBY, July 13 – Samoa, PNG and Fiji breezed through matches on the first day of 2015 Pacific Games netball at PNG Power Dome on Monday as the gap between favourites and underdogs became crystal clear.
Samoa defeated Tonga 88-21 and Papua New Guinea beat Solomon Islands 68-25, but the biggest win of the day went to world No.7 ranked Fiji who accounted for Vanuatu 100-15.
Tonga certainly drew the short stick with the draw as they also had to play a 19:00 game against Cook Islands, which they lost 70-38, to follow on from their earlier 13:00 defeat at the hands of Samoa.
The Samoan women proved taller, faster, bigger and stronger than their Polynesian neighbours, and their mid-court combination of wing defender Opheira Karatau, wing attack Hanakei Temese and centre Brooke Williams made sure Tonga was unable to maintain any possession in its attacking half.
Goalkeeper Natalie Jones and goal defence Sanonu Robertson also expertly denied the Tongan attack all game.
But with Fiji and PNG staking serious claims for Pacific Games netball gold, some interesting matches are still promised, particularly in pool B where PNG and Samoa are grouped together and will meet at 15:00 on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, preliminary play continues on Tuesday at 13:00 when Tonga are again slated to play the early fixture, this time against Papua New Guinea.
GNS ato/pg for more information visit www.portmoresby2015.com