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Sunday, April 11 2021 @ 05:30 am ACST

Game Day 7 - Tongan Tigers slay Sweden's Elks

International Cup 2011

The Tongan Tigers pulled through for a 30-point win over the Sweden Elks yesterday, in a low-scoring match that was far more intense than the scoreline might indicate.

The Elks drew first blood, with Emil Åberg marking, dummying around the man on the mark, and kicking to Leo Nilsson, who goaled. The Tongans then answered through a goal to Penisimani Mahina, but the Tigers couldn't manage another major for the term, despite having the majority of play in their forward line.

Lavemai kicked a behind for Tonga after the first quarter siren, allowing the Tigers to take a lead of a single point into the first break. The second quarter saw neither side kick a goal, both teams' intensity around the ground stopping the other mounting a connected flow of play.

Emil Åberg was creating plenty of run and delivering the ball into the forward 50 for the Elks, and Eric Sahlin was looking dangerous for the Elks early in the quarter, sharking the ball off the pack and going hard in contests on the ground, but the Swedes were not able to score a major.

Veteran Andreas Svensson was a leading light for Sweden all game, standing tall across halfback and through the centre. However, a memorable passage of play saw Penisimani Mahini smother a kick from Svensson in the back pocket, who then laid a tackle on Mahini, which the umpire judged to be high - a decision deemed controversial by the Swedish fans in attendance. Mahini's kick went wide, only achieving a behind.

The Swedish camp were further angered by a collision between the ball in play and a runner for the Tongan squad, as the Swedes were moving the ball out of defence. At the long break the margin was only 4 points in Tonga's favour, 1.6 to Sweden's 1.2.

The third quarter saw the Tongans kick three goals early through Lavemai, Tuaefe and Mahini, which saw the game put out of Sweden's reach. Looking particularly impressive was Mahini, who gathered and kicked a long goal from centre half forward and consistently created a strong forward target for the Tongans.

The final term was a similar arm-wrestle to the first two, with the only goal of the quarter coming when a dropped Swedish mark led to a running chain of handballs down the ground through the Tongans, finishing with Tuaefe, who goaled on the run.

The fatigue was showing on both sides, with Sweden's Åberg and Löwenborg going down after colliding in the centre. Swedish captain Johan Lantz and his charges went hard at it until the end, but their inability to convert their forward forays into goals, combined with the Tongans' 4-quarter pressure saw the Tigers run out 30-point winners.

Sweden1.1 1.2 1.3 1.3 (9)
Tonga 1.2 1.6 4.7 5.9 (39)

Tonga: K. Tuaefe 2, P. Mahina 2, M. Mana Lavemai
Sweden: L. Nilsson

Best players
Tonga: H. Fisitalia, F. Mahina, K. Tuaefe, T. Fihaki, S. Nau, A. Epenisa
Sweden: E. Åberg, D. Nyberg, G. Bondeau, C. Lowenborg, A. Svensson, E. Sahlin

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