The 10th anniversary of the Queensland Pacific Island Cultural Carnival didn’t disappoint, with some fantastic finals played to close out three huge days of festivities and football.
History was made in the Open Women’s final, with Samoa finally coming out on top against a gallant Māori side 8-4, with the match only able to be decided in golden point extra time after two periods of regulation extra time still couldn’t separate the two teams.
Both sides had their chances throughout to claim the match, with the Māori team hoping to claim a three-peat, but a strong Samoa side, featuring the likes of NRLW rising star Sienna Lofipo and experienced skipper Frieda Seu, were able to hold them out.
The men’s final was another thrilling match, with the PNG side retaining the trophy with a close 12-8 victory over Samoa.
The two nations have built a healthy rivalry over recent years, having met in the final three times now. The two nations have also enjoyed a strong showing in the men’s grand final, with either Samoa or PNG featuring in the deciding match in every QPICC bar the inaugural final in 2013.
As well as the action on the field, the sharing and showcasing of culture off the field was another highlight and key component of the carnival, with the opening ceremony on Friday night a particularly special event.
All competing nations – Cook Islands, Queensland Māori, Samoa, Niue, PNG, Tonga and the returning Fiji – put on a spectacular show, with song, dance and prayer, while special guests including Queensland Rugby League CEO Ben Ikin spoke about the importance of the Pasifika community’s overall contribution to the game.
QPICC 2023 finals results
Under 14 Girls final
Samoa 6 (Elisa Asomua try, Shyloh Tofae goal) defeated Māori 0
Under 14 Boys final
Cook Islands 10 (Rico-Cyprus Marsters 2 tries; Ezrah Tangianau goal) defeated Samoa 4 (Lyric Poto)
Under 16 Girls final
Samoa 36 (Amanii Misa 2, Lishainah Ulugia, Mamele Misa, Shalom Sauaso, Layla Satui, Kaylani Tavita tries; Shalom Sauaso 4, Lishainah Ulugia goals) defeated Māori 0
Under 16 Boys final
Samoa 24 (Santino Pekepo-Tevaga, Emmanuel Asomua, Alize Clarke tries; Daniel Rakena 3, Christian Rivers goals) defeated PEGA Tonga Invitational 10 (Hiwa Latu, Siosaia Poese tries; David Bryenton goal)
Under 18 Girls final
Samoa 30 (Tiresa Elika 2, Mercedez Taulelei-Siala, Matiana Tongia, Jaydah Tofae tries; Zebadiah Latu Mulumulu 4, Mercedez Taulelei-Siala goals) defeated Māori 8 (Ebony Raftstrand-Smith tries, Nikolina Fangupo)
Under 18 Boys final
Samoa 16 (Oliva Smith, Maddox Goodwin, LJ Nonu tries; Saifiti Junior Saifiti 2 goals) defeated PNG 10 (Alton Naiyep, Jayden Solien tries; Lahui Tau goal)
Open Women final
Samoa 8 (Kiarah Siauane, Tessa Vaoga tries) defeated Māori 4 (Aliyah Grey try) in golden point extra time)
Open Men final
PNG 12 (Cruise Ten, Riccardo Marius tries; Tyler Han, Kingstimer Paraia goals) defeated Samoa 8 (Tareta Siakisini 2 tries)
Each nation selected a player of the tournament for their participating age groups.
The names of the QPICC 2023 MVP winners have been supplied by nations and are listed below.
Under 16 Boys: Tamai Baker
Under 16 Girls: Leteena Medland
Under 18 Boys: Montoia Maea
Open Women: Brittany Breayley-Nati
Open Men: Sione Lopamaua
Under 14 Boys: Joseph Colata
Under 16 Boys: Romarion Tuitama
Open Men: George Fai
Under 14 Boys: Talau Hala
Under 16 Boys: Xzavier Timoteo
Under 18 Boys: Prestyn Laine-Sietu
Open Women: Kalotia Sekona
Open Men: Kegan Tuhega
Under 14 Boys: Xanda Massey
Under 14 Girls: Tenika Rokocoko
Under 16 Boys: Elyjah Birve
Under 16 Girls: Janique Milli
Under 18 Boys: Sani Ten
Under 18 Girls: Relna Hosea
Open Women: Janaya Trapman
Open Men: Tyler Han
PEGA Tonga Invitational
Under 14 Boys: Anthony Hopoate
Under 14 Girls: Ungatea Tuitahi
Under 16 Boys: David Bryenton
Under 16 Girls: Eta Sikahele
Under 18 Boys: Mosese Manu