FLASHBACK: October 1994, Nadroga challenges Nadi for the Benson & Hedges Cup, a temporary replacement for the Farebrother-Sullivan Trophy.
Nadroga already has the Telecom Cup in the bag by beating Nadi.
Final B&H Cup score Nadi 18 Nadroga 8. Nadi’s points were scored by fullback Opeti Turuva with four penalties and a dropgoal while Nadroga points came from a try and a penalty.
Those were the days when Nadi ruled with the boot and apart from Turuva there was Lalai Driu another prolific goalkicker.
Current Outrigger on the Lagoon Nadroga coaches Esala Nauga and Jonetani Waqa were in that team and they later returned in 1995 to take the trophy.
For Nadi they have been plagued by kicking woes in the 2012 season.
Their chances of wresting the Farebrother-Sullivan Trophy from Outrigger on the Lagoon Nadroga will depend on how good they can kick their goals and knowing Nadi they can easily turn the tables once they have a marksman.
The jetsetters have had a season of mixed fortunes because of the simple fact that they do not have reliable goalkickers.
They have a robust set of forwards that can match Nadroga in all departments and a set of enterprising backline players that execute moves to score tries. They could have beaten most of the top four teams like Suva if they had a kicker.
While they’ve failed to find a marksman this season they definitely would have rectified that problem in their weeks of preparation and as they usually do may turn that Achilles’ tendon into their secret weapon to create the upset at Lawaqa Park.
The swirling wind at Lawaqa Park has frustrated many kickers playing Nadroga this season while the local boys in Jonetani Ralulu, Narukutabua, Jiuta Lutumilagi and Natoga have mastered it so far.
The pressure and the unpredictable wind has seen Suva’s Kamenieli Neiqisa, Naitasiri’s Kolinio Vunaki, Jonetani Bola and Ilimeleki Leiloma of Northland miss crucial kicks in the past three games at Lawaqa.
Last week, Bola and Leiloma took turns but failed in all kicks and Northland’s only points came from an unconverted try.
But this is the Farebrother-Sullivan Trophy and the traditional giants who each by their own right claim to be the real owners.
Past records don’t count in traditional battles for supremacy.
It is a do or die affair and whatever disadvantage Nadi has and whatever advantages Nadroga have mastered in past matches in recent weeks all come to nought when the two traditional rugby giants clash.
This is the Farebrother-Sullivan Trophy and both teams are on even ground when the first whistle signals kickoff.
Expect the tackles to be ferocious and the forward battles tenacious. Hard body, ball-and-all tackles alone is a great leveller.
You get hit with one in the first minute and the game plan goes through the window and in the end individual play arises.
Another aspect of Nadi rugby is the crowd, especially the women fans.
Nadroga have their own women cheering team and Northland may have lost the game but they definitely gave an equal amount of female vocals that contributed to the din last week.
But when Nadi women fans let go, their stomping and shrilling voices can rattle the opposition at the same time lift the performances of their team to another level and they pack more volume because they have to compete against flying 747 jets coming in to land or takeoff.
They last had the trophy in 2009 but lost it to Naitasiri and Nadroga took it from Naitasiri in the final challenge and it has been there ever since.
Another interesting battle will be in the forwards. Young Benji Makutu has quickly picked up his game again and is a powerhouse at tighthead. Last week Northland used two loosehead props, one in each half against Makutu. The youngster was so powerful that it did not make a difference. He kept them backpedaling all afternoon.
Power, speed, intensity and goalkicking accuracy are just some of the qualities Nadi will have to match Nadroga with.
Not only that, they have to maintain the standard for 80 solid minutes.