The Tongan Tala netball team have retained 10 players from their Netball World Cup campaign in South Africa in July for the 2023 Pacific Games in Honiara.
Netball Tonga president Salote Sisifa said only two new players have been added to their team that is going to fly to the Solomon Islands.
Emma Mateo and Jaelin Tulikaki join the team that includes captain Hulita Veve, top goal-shooter Uneeq Palavi and sister Beyonce.
Tonga lost 44-43 at the 2019 Pacific Games netball final in Apia.
Team Tonga’s preparation for the 2023 Pacific Games has been boosted by a $600,000 Tonga Paanga funding from the government.
Tonga’s Minister of Internal Affairs Lord Va’ea presented the cheque to the Tonga Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee president Michael Bloomfield in Havelu outside Nuku’alofa, in a special presentation ceremony.
A government spokesman said the funding is half of what Government has agreed to allocate for Team Tonga’s preparations.
The Tonga Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee has confirmed that they are sending 329 athletes from 19 sports to the Games, which will officially open in Honiara on November 19.
Papua New Guinea athletes
Papua New Guinea has named 382 athletes from 20 sports to represent the country at the 2023 Pacific Games in the Solomon Islands later this month.
The National newspaper reported the athletes and officials were confirmed by Team PNG chef de mission Faye Zina Lalo.
Four sports – sailing, judo, rugby nines and karate – have been excluded from the PNG Games contingent, leaving them with representation in only 20 out of the 24 sporting codes on offer in Honiara later this month.
Team PNG’s first lot of athletes and team officials from made basketball, football, table tennis, lawn tennis and volleyball, will leave Port Moresby for Honiara on a charter flight on November 13.
PNG team represented in Athletics, basketball (3×3 & 5×5), beach volleyball, body building, boxing, football, golf, hockey, netball, powerlifting, rugby 7s, swimming, table tennis, taekwondo, tennis, touch footy, triathlon, va’a, volleyball and weightlifting.
Samoa sports bodies will be forking out $1.2 million tālā to Fiji Airways for transporting Team Samoa to and from the Pacific Games.
President of the Samoa Association of Sports and National Olympic Council (SASNOC) Pauga Talalelei Pauga confirmed the cost of the Fiji Airways charter for the 430 athletes and officials attending.
He told TV1Samoa that they have been preparing for the games and have cut team members down from 700.
Pauga said SASNOC will pay $1m tālā and government will pay $800,000 tālā of the total Games cost including transport and team uniforms.
Team Samoa will compete in 24 of the 25 sports on offer at the games because they don’t have a karate association.
The Kiribati men’s football team has withdrawn from the Pacific Games.
It means there will now only be 12 countries and territories competing in the football rounds: Solomon Islands, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, Tahiti, Tonga, Tuvalu, Samoa, Cook Islands, Vanuatu, Fiji, American Samoa, and the Northern Marianas.
Kiribati athletes will still be attending the games to compete in other sports.
The Micronesian nation’s last appearance in men’s football was during the 2011 games in New Caledonia.
Football matches for the games will kick off on 17 November.
The Samoa and French sevens rugby teams have spent time training in Fiji for their upcoming regional and international sevens commitments.
Samoa is preparing for the Oceania 7s Rugby Championship in Brisbane this week, the Pacific Games in Honiara later this month and the Dubai 7s as part of the HSBC Sevens series in December.
France is preparing for the Dubai 7s.
Fiji sevens coach Ben Gollings has told local media that his 30-member squad will play warm up matches against both Samoa and France in Sigatoka.
The Fijians are also preparing for the Oceania 7s, the Pacific Games and the Dubai 7s tournaments.
Moana Pasifika coaches
Moana Pasifika has two new assistant coaches for the 2024 Super Rugby Pacific season.
Toaigaotumua Tom Coventry and Stephen Jones are joining Head Coach Fa’alogo Tana Umaga and his coaching staff.
Both bring their extensive experience to the side; Coventry having been part of the Blues set up and more recently Manu Samoa at the Rugby World Cup, while Jones has had a long career with Wales and the British Lions.
Jones was also Attack Coach for the Welsh team from 2019 to 2022 and helped his country to a Six Nations Title and Triple Crown in 2021.
Moana Pasifika announced the coaches appointments today in Auckland as they look to get their pre-season training underway.
NRL stat retires
NRL star fullback Will Hopoate has announced his retirement from Rugby League.
The 31-year-old Tongan and Australian international played over 200 games across four clubs in the NRL and Super League competitions.
In 2010, he became one of the youngest players to have ever played in the NRL when he debuted for the Manly Sea Eagles at the age of 18.
Hopoate garnered attention during his career for his religious commitments.
He left the sport for two years to serve as a missionary for the church of latter day saints, and did not play on Sundays during his time with the Canterbury Bulldogs.