NO QUIT ATTITUDE
Hawaii’s first Rugby League select team, the Chiefs, with its ‘no quit’ attitude put up a great fight to the very end against the Queensland Indigenous All Star side in Honolulu. The 70-8 scoreline did not reflect a well fought battle.
The sides battled it out with big runs and hits from both packs. Dropped balls plagued the Chiefs and the Aboriginals’ superior kicking game kept pushing the Chiefs deep into their own territory. A solid wall of defense kept the Chiefs fighting for every inch of ground.
Byron Fruean with 20 solid hit-ups and 22 crunching tackles, before having to leave the game early in the second half with a split lip that came from an elbow that later required 30 stitches, was the most productive player for the Hawaiian team.
“We just had to keep pushing forward and try to break through,” said Kyle Marsom with his 15 punishing hit-ups that required three to four tacklers each time.
Chiefs captain Kelly Mcgill had one of his best performances with 11 hit-ups and nine tackles until having to leave the game with a broken nose. Vai Notoa stepped up and took on the role of captain directing the Chiefs. Notoa’s slashing runs from dummy-half started pushing the visitors back, which led to the Chiefs’ first try.
The ball went out to winger Trendt ‘Tonka’ Marsom, who broke a couple of tackles and offloaded to five-eighth Anthony Sunia, a USA Tomahawk, who chipped into the left corner to score.
Speedster Dustin Umeda was limited to only a few touches of the ball with deep kicks to the opposite side of the field. Chiefs fullback Jayson Rego was tested many times under booming high kicks from the visitors, but always rose to the occasion with stunning catches and great speed running the Chiefs out of danger.
Josh Rice led the Chiefs in tackles with 31. "Rice is just a tackling machine," said Mcgill.
“Josh and Byron were our workhorses,” said Hawaii Chiefs coach Rob Marsom, “and Josh taking up the slack when we lost Byron to injury.
“Rego and Rice spent the past year in Brisbane playing for the Ipswich Jets [in the QRL] and their constant work rate in and around the play the ball showed. Rego saved a couple of tries with solid tackles by flying across the field.”
Newcomers playing their first game of Rugby League included Tupo Vaimasanuu, Hogan Paleafea, Maeques White, Mana Kauhua, Simisi Unitoni, Zek Faleniko, Kyle and Trendt Marsom and Hiene Mcfarland, who scored the Chiefs’ second try from another offload from winger Marsom, all played hard until the very end.
Matt Walsh played an outstanding game by directing the forwards, making a lot of yardage from around the play the ball and relentless tackling that halted many of the visitors’ attacks.
The Hawaiian side had just a month to prepare for the game against the Queensland All Star Aboriginal squad chosen from over 30 teams that have just finished their regular season in Australia.
“I am very proud of my boys they never quit," said Coach Marsom. "They were just out skilled by a very good and fast and well disciplined Aboriginal team, but you can quote me on this ... the rematch will be different. And hopefully on Australian soil.”