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First Premiership

First Premiership
Shishant Deo Singh (middle) with (from left), father Padam Singh, class teacher Pritika Sharma, mother Shirly Singh and sister Jyotika Varsha and her baby Evaan at the prizegiving ceremony on November 21, 2018. Photo: Swashna Chand
September 14
12:10 2014

The KBL Saru Dragons won the Vodafone Cup Top 8 Grand Final defeating Fair Trade Makoi Bulldogs 20-18 at Churchill Park, Lautoka yesterday.

The win enabled the Dragons to lay their hands on the premiership title for the first time since the club was established in 1995 known as the Saru Magpies.

The Lautoka side won $2500 while the Bulldogs returned to Nasinu $1250 richer.

What happened:  

In the 11th minute hooker Mesulame Tuinikoko scored the first try after a fumble by the Dragons which was successfully converted by Apisai Taoba. Bulldogs 6-0 Dragons.  In the 21st minute Dragons’ fullback Jona Bainivalu scored to close the gap 6-4.

Centre Esira Dokoni, Semisi Tora (prop), Tikiko Noke (lock forward) were outstamding in defence.

The combination of Taoba, Jone Wesele, Filipe Puamau and Osea Sadrau, also had their turn in penetrating the Dragons’ line.

In the 42nd minute,  Seruvi Ralulu scored for the  Dragons to lead for the first time 8-6.  In the 55th minute Dragons’ captain Ilaitia Rogorogo scored his first try for them to lead 12-6.

In the 62nd minute, Bulldogs fullback Filipe Puamau scored which was converted by Eroni Dalodai  for the teams to level 12-12 . This forced the teams to play extra time. In the first five minutes, the Bulldogs thought to have clinched the winner in the third minute as centre Sisa Balekoro scored a try and  converted by Taoba to lead 18 – 12.

But in the second spell of extra time, the Dragons regrouped resulting in Rogorogo scoring in the 7th minute.

The Dragons capitalised from the Bulldogs kick-off and again ran riot as Rogorogo scored the winner.

The Bulldogs last won the Grand Final in 2012, beating Sabeto Roosters at Lawaqa Park, Sigatoka.

Star turn: Rogorogo scored a hat-trick as he read the game well.

Big play: The experience of Dokoni and Tora was a key factor in the win.

Comments: Dragons’ coach Tevita Volavola said, “It is a very happy moment for the team and the supporters as this is our first premiership title and we thank the Lord. The boys played well until the last minute as they were not intimidated by the Bulldogs. We dedicate this win to our sponsor, KBL.”

Bulldogs coach Maika Vunicere said, “It was very tough game as only one team will win. We accepted the defeat but the boys showed the fighting spirit.

“We just did not maintain our line of defence despite the experienced players did muscle up the boys but too bad and try hard for next season.”

Other results:  Premier: Pacific Energy Kinoya Sea Eagles 20 – Nadi Eels 14, Reserve: Tifa Jek Hot Springs Sabeto Roosters 24 – KBL Saru Dragons 14, Under 18: Tifa Jek Hot Springs Sabeto Roosters 18 KBL Saru Dragons 14, Under 16: KBL Saru Dragons 14, Dee Cees Nadera Panthers 10, Under 14: Malawai Sea Eagles 14 – KBL Saru Dragons 10.

Feedback: waisean@fijisun.com.fj

 

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