By Phil Mitchell
Too many rep tournament finals are never enough for some of our club's finest players. Earlier today (Saturday) Balmain's own Cook Islands connection Terry Joe, Johanne Joe, Briar Turley, Mei George and Ben Tokahere finished as silver medallists in the over-30s mixed division at the Touch World Cup in Malaysia. The Kukis won eight and drew one of their 10 pool games (losing only to defending champions Australia) in oppressive heat to qualify for the finals in second position.
Among their wins was a historic victory against 'big brother' New Zealand, whom the Cook Islands had never beaten before in the 31-year history of the Touch World Cup (in any division!). As fate would have it, NZ ended up third after the pool rounds to set up a blockbuster of a semi-final rematch with their South Pacific cousins.
With the stakes so much higher this time around, the Cook Islanders proved their earlier, emotion-charged win was no fluke, defeating the Touch Blacks 5-3 to advance to the gold medal game against the star-studded and unbeaten Aussies. The Kukis gave a great account of themselves in the final but were unable to turn the tables on the hot favourites, losing 6-3.
Grand Final vs Australia
Links to all the televised games:
Congratulations also to fellow Tigers rep players Chairman Ngari, Tane Rewi and John Dean, who were members of Cook Islands' bronze medal-winning men's over-35s team.
We at Balmain Touch are so proud of all these players' amazing efforts on the world stage - they have done themselves, their country and their club proud, just as they did at last year's NSW State Cup and the National Touch League in March. Wear your medals with pride! #wearebalmain