REWA missed the services of lethal striker James Naka as Labasa overpowered them 2-0 at home in the opening round of the Inkk Mobile Battle of the Giants (BOG) tournament yesterday.
The Solomon Islander is yet to receive his International Transfer Certificate (ITC) and hoping to get his clearance before this Thursday as the remaining rounds of games will be played at Churchill Park in Lautoka.
Labasa was a class above the rest in the match and with imports Kema Jack and Wira Wama, the Babasiga Lions showed glimpses of some exceptional football skills to keep close to 10,000 fans on their feet.
Rewa also thrilled the fans with some deft touches from Abraham Iniga and Vanuatu's Robert Tasso, who combined well with Epeli Saukuru and Misaele Draunibaka to remain a threat to the Labasa side.
But they lacked someone of Naka's calibre to make those scoring opportunities count as numerous chances went begging for the southern giants.
"That's (the unavailability of Naka) is a setback for us as we were hoping to use him today (yesterday)," Rewa coach Marika Rodu said.
"The game could have changed if he would have played but we have to go with what we have."
Maciu Dunadamu scored Labasa's opening goal from the penalty spot after Rewa's Peniame Drova fouled Taione Kerevanua in the six yard box.
The stylish striker struck on the left hand side of the net sending Rewa stopper Imtiaz Khan in the wrong direction and Labasa fans into a frenzy mood.
Hekari United's Jack, who seemed to be struggling to find his footings, scored the second goal after slotting in the neat cross from Dunadamu, which was beautifully orchestrated by midfield general Wama.
"This kind of results is expected when you play a tough team and given the home advantage, it's tough to play them," Rodu said.
"The turning point for us was the penalty kick. The boys were mentally disturbed but at the end of the day, Labasa was a better team."
Labasa coach Epeli Levaci hailed his heroes and thanked the fans for coming out in big numbers.