Cairns fans ready for Samoa - Cook Islands clash

Four different cultures will come together for one important cause tonight in Cairns when the SP Brewery Pacific Cup kicks off with a qualifying match between Samoa and Cook Islands.

A crowd of up to 8,000 is expected at Barlow Park with organisers set to conduct a blanket appeal to aid the crisis response in Samoa.

Samoan High Commissioner to Australia, His Excellency Lemalu Tate Simi, is a guest of honour at the event and will launch the Samoa Tsunami Relief Fund prior to kickoff.

The two teams will then perform their traditional war dances before a minute of silence is held.

Tonight’s match will be preceded by a feast of international Rugby League, with more than 30 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island teams contesting the “Jack Ahmat Shield” at Barlow Park throughout the day.

Undoubtedly the most anticipated match of this carnival is the curtain-raiser clash (5.50pm) between the Dhaarrbah Bulls and Bingil Sharks, with the Bulls being coached by North Queensland Cowboys star Matt Bowen.

Tonight is the first time four cultures – Samoan, Cook Islands, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander – have come together for a major Rugby League event since the 2008 Rugby League World Cup.

Cook Islands and Samoan local community groups will add to the atmosphere when they showcase traditional drum and dance performances on-field prior to kickoff.

Cairns District Rugby League Chairman, Nigel Tillet, said tonight’s match would cap a huge week for Rugby League in the region.

“The Samoan and Cook Islands teams have been terrific for us up here,” Tillet said.

“They’ve visited schools in between training and really engaged with the community and in return there’s been this wonderful vibe around town about this game.”

The winner of tonight’s match will progress to the inaugural SP Brewery Pacific Cup tournament which kicks off on October 24 in Port Moresby.

The eventual winner of the SP Brewery Pacific Cup will gain entry to the 2010 Four Nations tournament alongside league heavyweights Australia, New Zealand and England.

SP Brewery Pacific Cup Qualifying Match
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Barlow Park, Cairns
Kickoff 7.30pm

SAMOA

COOK ISLANDS

Peter Matautia

Fullback

Monikura Tikinau

Patrick Ah Van

Wing

Lulia Lulia

Sam Tagataese

Centre

Brad Takirangi

Tagi Ropati

Centre

Anthony Gelling

Misi Taulapapa

Wing

Dominique Peroux

Kyle Stanley

Five Eighth

Johnathan Ford

Albert Talapeau

Halfback

Daniel Fepuleai

Kylie Leuluai (c)

Prop

Tere Glassie (c)

Terence Seuseu

Hooker

Samuel Brunton

Mark Taufua

Prop

Ben Vaeau

Harrison Hansen

Second row

Fred Makimare

Phillip Leuluai

Second row

Leon Panapa

Joseph Paulo

Lock

Sema Mataora

Masada Iosefa

Interchange

John Viiga

Jack Afamasaga

Interchange

Vincent Ngaro

Paul Chan Tung

Interchange

Arona Tinirau

Tanielu Pasene

Interchange

Fabien Sautar

Reserve

Zane Tetevano

Willie Poching

COACH

David Fairleigh