Pepes fight for final berth

PAPUA New Guinea is locked in a three-way race to make the final of the Nations Cup netball tournament in Singapore.

The Pepes, co-captained by Bendigo resident and new Strathfieldsaye Storm coach Maleta Roberts, needed to win their last group match against Ireland on Friday night and hope other results fell their way to guarantee a place in Saturday's decider.

Roberts' side has had mixed fortunes at the carnival, despite being the highest-ranked of the six competing nations.

They had easy victories over Sri Lanka and the USA, but blew a 14-goal lead to draw with the unranked Uganda after losing a nail-biter to the host nation by a solitary goal.

Heading into the final round, Singapore was sitting top of the ladder on six points, with PNG and Uganda level on five and separated by just three percentage points.

If PNG win, they will make the championship play-off as long as one of their two main rivals loses or if Uganda cannot make up the percentage difference.

Uganda would be unlucky to miss out, given they lost their opening match to netball minnows the USA by walkover after missing their initial flight and failing to arrive at the Toa Payoh Sports Hall in time.

Roberts, 28, has been a consistent performer in the goal ring for the Pacific nation at the tournament, shooting accurately and feeding well into 193cm-tall team-mate Tiata Baldwin.

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