Cook Islands

cook islands


cook islands
  • Team Name: The Cooks
  • First Appearance: 2000
  • RLWC2013 Group: Group D
  • RLWC2013 Opponents: USA and Wales
  • Tournament best: Never won a match

Ones to Watch: Keith Lulia, Anthony Gelling and Zeb Taia

Read more about these great players and why they are ones to watch during RLWC2013.


Keith Lulia


Lulia began his junior Rugby League career down under and at the Port Kembla Black in Australia. The strong player is pretty adaptable and often plays a mixture of Centre, Wing and Second Row.

After signing deal for Bradford in 2011, a bicep tear saw him miss the first couple of season openers, but his quick recovery and strong  consistent performance has seen him become a regular try scorer for the side ever since.

Lulia has represented the Cook Islands since 2009 and has demonstrated on the field that he’s one to watch for the upcoming RLWC2013.


Anthony Gelling

cook islands

Born in New Zealand, Wigan’s warrior Anthony Gelling is hoping to be one of the squad members looking to represent the Cook Islands during Rugby League World Cup 2013.

Normally playing Second Row or Centre, Gelling is typically known to fans as the bad boy from down under who replaced Joel Tomkins when he made the move to union in 2011.


Zeb Taia

cook islands

A progressive second row forward, Taia currently plays for the Catalan Dragons after signing a 3 year deal with them in May last year.

Born in New Zealand, Taia represented the Cook Islands in 2010 against a New South Wales side and hopes to continue to represent them in RLWC2013. 


A Bit of History

The Cook Islands, a collection of fifteen small islands in the Pacific Ocean between French Polynesia and American Samoa, burst onto the international Rugby League scene in 1995 when they won the Emerging Nations World Cup with a 22-6 victory over Ireland in the final at Gigg Lane, Bury.

Five years later the Cook Islanders stepped up to the main event: the 2000 Rugby League World Cup. The islanders performed valiantly in defeats against New Zealand and Wales, and notched their first point in a draw with Lebanon.

Named in honour of Captain James Cook, who landed on the islands in 1773, the population of the Cook Islands is just 20,000, making them one of smallest members of the Rugby League of nations.

Yet the islands have produced some of the game’s biggest names, including former Kiwi captain John Whittaker and the legendary Kevin Iro. Many more young players are now forging a path through the NRL competition.

Rugby league took a foothold in the Cook Islands in 1979 with a match between ‘town’ and ‘country’. The first international was played against Niue in the 1986 Pacific Cup.

The success of their 2009 Pacific Cup campaign, in defeating the established national teams of Samoa and Fiji before losing to Papua New Guinea in the final led to the Cook Islanders gaining a berth in the 2013 Rugby League World Cup.

The domestic Rugby League season currently involves seven clubs, six on the main island of Rarotonga and one side on the outer island of Aitutaki, and runs from February to May.

Former Australian international David Fairleigh will coach the World Cup side.