Bluesky Super Nine Grand Final

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21 July 2018 - If you were not at Apia Park Stadium today, you missed arguably one of the best provincial rugby matches in the history of Samoan rugby.
The Grand Final between the EELS and CHIEFS today at a packed Apia Park was a Blockbuster of Titanic proportions that scribes would once upon a time refer to as mythical and would regard your absence as blasphemous.
 
The Chiefs dominated possession throughout the game led by a charismatic leader and Captain evergreen Afa Aiono supported by up and coming superstar No.7: Jacob Mapu along with stalwart No.8 Lio Lolo caused havoc both in attack and in defence.
 
 
The Eels opted for an aerial assault through the boot of Captain: Patrick Faapale with wingers Dennis Maresa and Ivana Eti in hot pursuit to pounce on any loose ball from the Chiefs back three. Luckily for the Chiefs, their back three in the form of Johnny Vaili, Jay Malielegaoi and Tuiai Taulia were all too happy to defuse any aerial bombs coming their way.
 
The first 20 minutes, both teams tested the waters until the Chiefs drew first blood with a rampaging Jacob Mapu smashing his way to the try line.
The Eels aptly replied with a try to winger Dennis Maresa and a drop goal from fullback Paul Scanlan to end the first half with a halftime score: Eels 8-7 Chiefs.
 
The second half started with a brilliant try to Chiefs No.12 Tulolo Tulolo finishing off some slick ball movement in the back division.
Not long after the Chiefs struck again through No.11: Jay Malielegaoi who pounced on a well-placed kick from fullback Johnny Vaili to notch the blue and whites ahead to 8-19.
 
With tension in the air and the game slowly slipping away, the Eels changed tact and exerted their ground and pound forward play muscling their way forward only to be met by staunch resistance from the Chiefs defence.
The Eels bruising persistence was rewarded with a penalty try at the 58th minute breathing life to an anxious Eels supporters 15-19.
 
The last 15 minutes was a torrid exchange of guts and will as the Eels forward pack relentlessly bashed themselves at the Chiefs' fortress wall. The Eels resorted to throwing in the kitchen sink in the form of replacement behemoth prop Jake Leifi who finally broke through on the 73rd minute with a try to send the Eels faithful in total euphoria giving his team the lead 20-19 with 7 minutes to go.
 
The last 7 minutes was a nail biter with both teams pushing themselves into scoring position, only to squander their chances with loose ball or turnovers.
 
In the end, the Eels held on to win an exhausting bruising battle that'll live long in the hearts and minds of the thousands in attendance.