TOP favourites Raiwai Gold is wary of defending champions Suva when they take the stage for this weekend's Vanua Challenge starting at the FMF Gymnasium in Laucala today.
Riding high after winning the Vulaca Championship last month, Raiwai Gold is the top seeded men's team in the two-day tournament.
The side led by former national rep Suliasi Ledua is pooled with Nadonumai, Waiyavi One and Nadi Two.
Raiwai Gold trainer Peni Ratumaiyale said they were anticipating Suva to come out stronger following its loss in the Vulaca Championship.
2DayFM Suva lost to Raiwai Gold 1-3 at the Vulaca Championship final last month.
"Obviously the win at the Vulaca has boosted the morale of the players and we are using that as an inspiration in the Vanua Challenge," Ratumaiyale said.
"We also know Suva will come out stronger to defend its title and we are bracing for a tough challenge from them."
Raiwai Gold has maintained the same squad that featured and triumphed at the Central/Eastern meet.
Ratumaiyale said the side prepared well for the Vanua Challenge and was ready to take on the cream of Fiji volleyball this weekend.
"We tried to go a notch up during our training. The boys have been working hard and they know what is expected from them this weekend."
Ratumaiyale has called on the supporters of Raiwai volleyball to come out in numbers and support the team.
"The Raiwai Gold team is made up of players from the Raiwai area. Our aim since the revival of volleyball in Raiwai has been to use the talent around us," he said. "That is now bearing fruit and these young players are really showing their real potential. We urge our fans to back the team and help us morally to win this tournament."
The two-day tournament starts this morning with the finals to be played tomorrow afternoon.