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Papua New Guinea vs Cook Islands Tips - Try-fest tipped in Port Moresby

jeremy-darke
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Last updated: 14 Oct 2023
Jeremy Darke 14 Oct 2023
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  • Papua New Guinea Kumuls vs Cook Islands Aitu predictions for Sunday’s Pacific Championship game
  • PNG have won all 5 games against the Cook Islands.
  • Can the Cook Islands keep it close?
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PNG, Cook Islands
PNG have never lost to the Cook Islands. (Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

Papua New Guinea vs Cook Islands Tips


The Cook Islands and PNG will face each other for the sixth time in history when they face each other at Santos National Football Stadium, Port Moresby. 

The Aitu will be chasing their first ever victory against the Kumils who most recently beat them 32-16 at the World Cup last November.

Games between the Cook Islands and PNG have always been full of entertainment with plenty of points scored. Considering that both teams are a blend of local and NRL players it means that both teams will be poor defensively, which creates excitement for us fans. 

I am going to back the points and take the OVER 47.5 game total with only one game in their 5-match history going under that figure. I am also going to fade PNG and take the Cook Islands to keep this game closer than expected and cover the 22.5 points as the underdog. 

Kayal Iro was a beast with 22 tackle breaks in his 3 appearances for the Sharks this season, he also scored a try and set up 2, so I am backing him for a try anytime. The first try is obviously going to be scored by Alex Johnston for PNG.  

  • 4 of 5 games between PNG and the Cook Islands has gone over the 47.5 point total.
  • 2 of 3 games Cook Island games went over the 47.5 point total at the 2022 World Cup.
  • The Cook Islands covered the 22.5 point margin last time they played PNG.
  • Kayal Iro had 1 try and 22 tackle breaks in his 3 games in the NRL for the Cronulla Sharks in 2023.

Head to Head 


PNG have won all five meetings against the Cook Islands.

They most recently played in the 2022 Rugby League World Cup with PNG running out winners 32-16.

Papua New Guinea Form


PNG impressed in the most recent World Cup, narrowly losing to Tonga 18-24 before beating the Cook Islands 32-16 and Wales 36-0, then getting knocked out by England 46-6 in the quarterfinals.

Papua New Guinea Team News


Jack de Belin is poised to make his first Test appearance for Papua New Guinea, where he'll assume the role of lock, and he'll be joined in the backrow by his fellow Dragons teammate, Dan Russell.

Alex Johnston will take up the fullback position, and the up-and-coming talent from the Cowboys, Zac Laybutt, has been named in the centres.

Kyle Laybutt is set to team up with Lachlan Lam in the halves, while Judah Rimbu has been chosen as the starting hooker.

Papua New Guinea Team List


1. Alex Johnston
2. Robert Derby
3. Zac Laybutt
4. Rodrick Tai
5. Nene MacDonald
6. Kyle Laybutt
7. Lachlan Lam
8. Epel Kapinias
9. Judah Rimbu
10. Valentine Richard
11. Jacob Alick
12. Dan Russell
13. Jack de Belin 

Interchange

14. Liam Horne
15. Nixon Putt
16. Junior Rop
17. Benji Kot

Reserves

18. Cruise Ten
19. Rhyse Martin
20. Wellington Albert
21. Justin Olam

Cook Islands Form


The Cook Islands got one victory at the 2022 World Cup, beating Wales 18-12, however, they fell to PNG 16-32 and were then crushed by Tonga 92-10.

Cook Islands Team News


Kayal Iro is set to form a robust center duo alongside Esan Marsters, as the young gun from Cronulla aims to leave a mark following a trying season.

The team's captain, Brad Takairangi, takes on the role of five-eighth, while Tevin Arona is entrusted with the halfback position.

In the powerful forward pack, Davvy Moale gets the nod as the starting prop, joining forces with Makahesi Makatoa and Zane Tetevano in the engine room.

Cook Islands Team List


1. Esam Ioka
2. Malachi Morgan
3. Kayal Iro
4. Esan Marsters
5. Steven Marsters
6. Brad Takairangi
7. Tevin Arona
8. Davvy Moale
9. Rua Ngatikaura
10. Makahesi Makatoa
11. Zane Tetevano
12. Ruben Porter
13. Pride Petterson-Robati

Interchange

14. William Samuel
15. Rhys Dakin
16. Justin Makirere
17. Kadiyae Ioka

Reserves

18. Takai Mokohar
19. Isaiah Cooper-Tetevano
20. Alvin Maungatti
21. Lucky Pokipoki

Verdict

This game is going to be full of tries and excitement, which is what this championship needs. The game total will hit the OVER and the Cook Islands will keep it closer than expected.

Kayal Iro will score a try for the Aitu but it will be Alex Johnston at the back for PNG that will score first.
Best Bet1: Over 47.5 Game Total @9/10 at Neds - 3 Units
Best Bet2: Cook Islands +22.5 Handicap Line @9/10 at Ladbrokes Australia - 2 Units
Best Bet3: Kayal Iro Anytime Tryscorer @17/4 at Boombet - 1 Unit
Best Bet4: Alex Johnston First Tryscorer @7/1 at Neds - 1 Unit
Over 47.5
Game Total
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Cook Islands +22.5
Handicap Line
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Kayal Iro
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Alex Johnston
First Tryscorer
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Betting Slip | 15 Oct 2023

Papua New Guinea v Cook Islands