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Samoa dominated the Queensland Pacific Islander Cultural Carnival, winning five of the seven finals

Three big days filled with cultural displays and featuring more than 70 games of rugby league wrapped up on Sunday with the conclusion of the 2021 Queensland Pacific Islander Cultural Carnival.

Beenleigh’s Bill Norris Oval came alive with colourful and vocal support for the six participating nations this year, with players and teams from Papua New Guinea, Tonga, Samoa, Maori, Cook Islands and Niue all putting in their best performances.

The big winner from the weekend was Samoa, who claimed four of the seven titles on offer, including the open men’s grand final in a thriller against PNG.

A classy Maori A side filled with Harvey Norman Queensland Maroons representative talent such as Zahara Temara, Destiny Brill and Tiana Raftstrand-Smith proved too good for Tonga in the open women’s final.

Overall, the whole weekend was a display of rising female talent, with the under 14 and under 16 girls games providing a glimpse of the future.

The Maori A open women's side proved too good for Tonga in the QPICC 2021 grand final. Photo: Jim O'Reilly / QPICC
The Maori A open women's side proved too good for Tonga in the QPICC 2021 grand final. Photo: Jim O'Reilly / QPICC

The theme for QPICC this year was “reviving connections” after the popular event, like many others on the rugby league calendar, was cancelled last year due to COVID-19.

This year, more than 10, 000 people came through the gates across the three days, which began on Friday night with a special opening ceremony where all nations had the opportunity to showcase their culture through either a speech, song or dance.

There was also a livestream of the action on Field 1, powered by PacificAus Sports, provided to fans who were not able to make it in person, to help provide connection for families and communities in the Pacific.

The carnival was supported by QRL South East staff to help a huge three days of rugby league run smoothly, with Brisbane Rugby League Referees Association, Gold Coast Referees Association and Ipswich Referees Association match officials assisting by officiating all of the matches. 

More information about QPICC can be found at the website.

Opening ceremony performance from Tonga. Photo: Jim O'Reilly / QPICC
Opening ceremony performance from Tonga. Photo: Jim O'Reilly / QPICC

QPICC 2021 grand final results

Under 14 girls

Samoa 20 (Shalom Sauaso 2, Okalani Compton, Lishainah Ulugia tries;  Shalom Sauaso, Lishainah Ulugia goals) defeated Maori 0

Under 14 boys

Samoa 16 (Brian Pouniu 2, Kaleb-Andrew Mene tries; Natututasian Leota 2 goals) defeated Maori 14 (Dahnte Te Whiu-Hopa, Kymahni Whelan, Tayshaarn Tonga tries, Benjamin Quinlan)

Under 16 girls

Maori 14 (Tyrah Herewini, Skylahparadise Heke, Maia Ratana-Leef tries; Waimaaria Ngati goal) defeated Samoa 4 (Kiarah Siauane try)

Under 16 boys

Samoa 22 (Tafito Falaniko, Amos Tuialii, Jericho Bell-Faamfu, Keahn Skipps tries; Keahn Skipps 3 goal) defeated PNG 12 (Lahui Tau, Jamie Critchley tries; Lahui Tau 2 goals)

Under 18 boys

Papua New Guinea 6 (Jackson Chang tries; Zane Lothian goals) defeated Tonga 4 (Princeton Esera)

Open women

Maori A 22 (Ashleigh Quinlan, Jodeci Nicholson, Tiana Raftstrand-Smith, Alicia Heller tries; Zahara Temara 3 goals) defeated Tonga 0

Open men

Samoa 10 (Albert Junior Ma Chong, Onosai Auina tries; Bessie Aufaga-Toomaga goal) defeated Papua New Guinea 6 (Liam Horne try; Tyler Han goal)

Niue returned to QPICC in 2021 with an open men's team. Photo: Jim O'Reilly / QPICC
Niue returned to QPICC in 2021 with an open men's team. Photo: Jim O'Reilly / QPICC

QPICC 2021 player of the carnival winners

Under 14 girls

Maori: Danielle Tutakangahau
Papua New Guinea: Janique Mili
Samoa: Shalom Sauaso
Tonga: Kaylani Tavita

Under 14 boys

Cook Islands: Carlos Bagon
Maori: Kilarney Lavender
Papua New Guinea: Ronan Wong
Samoa: Brian Pouniu
Tonga: Tavake Tau'a'alo

Under 16 girls

Cook Islands: Armani-lea Auvae
Maori: Waimaaria Ngati
Papua New Guinea: Tarvarna Papalii
Samoa: Kiara Siaune
Tonga: Malaela Sua

The Cook Islands food stall was a popular addition to the QPICC market place. Photo: Jim O'Reilly / QPICC
The Cook Islands food stall was a popular addition to the QPICC market place. Photo: Jim O'Reilly / QPICC

Under 16 boys

Cook Islands: Mou Taumaletila
Maori: Riki Turner
Papua New Guinea: Sani Ten
Samoa: Keahn Skipps
Tonga: Braden Teuila

Under 18 boys

Cook Islands: Titan Vaikai
Maori: Taimana Whakatau
Papua New Guinea: Caleb Tokam
Samoa: Samson Sauaso
Tonga: Naisa Pahulu

Keilee Joseph was the Papua New Guinea open women's player of the tournament. Photo: Jim O'Reilly / QPICC
Keilee Joseph was the Papua New Guinea open women's player of the tournament. Photo: Jim O'Reilly / QPICC

Open women

Cook Islands: Lekamay Tuaana
Maori A: Ashley Quinlan
Maori B: Sophie Cameron
Papua New Guinea: Keilee Joseph
Samoa: Sulesa Siauane
Tonga: Vaituulima Soe

Open men

Cook Islands: Kobe Tararo
Maori: Samson Graham
Niue: Zach Chongnee
Papua New Guinea: Cruise Ten
Samoa: Andrew Petaia
Tonga: Fe’oa Maka

NRL referees squad member Liam Kennedy visited the match officials at QPICC. Photo: Paul Oliver
NRL referees squad member Liam Kennedy visited the match officials at QPICC. Photo: Paul Oliver