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Fiji Time: 6:32 PM on Sunday 31 August

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Why our Bati can win

Culden Kamea
Sunday, November 16, 2008

Yes, the Fiji Bati at the 2008 Rugby League World Cup are the underdogs and rank outsiders against the world champion Australian Kangaroos heading into tonight's second semi final clash in Sydney.

But for my money, having been there before with current Fiji Bati coach, Joe Rabele, when he was a player, that's the perfect position to be in!

It was a gloriously sunny day to die in 1992 when the original Fiji Bati was up against the mighty Canberra Raiders at the Rugby League World 7s.

They were bristling with Australian Kangaroos who just happened to be the best players in the world in their respective positions including -- Brett Mullins, Mal Meninga, Laurie Daley, Ken Nagas, Ricky Stewart, Bradley Clyde, David Furner and Croker.

No one gave us a chance and rightfully so, after all this was the Fiji Bati's first game of rugby league ever!

But they didn't count on the special spirit encapsulated by the Fiji Bati slogan inspired by Ben Osborne; Noqu Kalou, Noqu Vanua -- "My God, My Country" and the pre-match dressing room motivating words of Major-General Sitiveni Rabuka that left true warrior sons of Fiji -- Alifereti Dere, Pio Nakubuwai, Nemani Matirewa, Etuate Waqa, Joe Rabele, Livai Nalagilagi, Pauliasi Tabulutu, Acura Niuqila, Noa Nadruku and Niko Baleiverata in tears, streaming down their faces, trembling with emotion as they walked out onto Sydney Football Stadium in front of thousands of Raiders fans and dealt death to them in a victory that a stunned Australian media could only describe as the rugby league upset of the century!

Tonight, in front of thousands of Aussie fans, the 2008 Fiji Bati will have to believe in themselves, dig deep, draw on the inspiration of the 1992 Fiji Bati and deal with the Kangaroos.

They will have to tackle their hearts out all night and then come back with aggression when in possession and that's the key -- hanging on to the ball long enough to be able to mount raid after raid.

Believe me, the tries will come.

God bless Fiji and God bless the Fiji Bati.


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