THE Battle of the Bati is always the final hurdle for players vying to get a spot in the Fiji Bati rugby league team.
Since its inaugural tournament four years ago — which was played by the New Zealand Fijians, Australian Fijians and the Fiji Residents — the match-ups have served as a trial for Bati selection.
This tournament allows every Bati from Australia, Fiji and New Zealand to show their unique talent as they try to convince the national selectors with their performance.
The first Battle of the Bati in 2009 was introduced to select the Bati side for the Pacific Cup in Papua New Guinea.
The Residents won the second triangular tournament in 2010.
The third year, the New South Wales Country Fijians replaced the New Zealand Fijians who could not make it to the tournament. The battle was evenly contested and a strong Fiji Bati side was selected for the Test matches against the PNG Kumuls.
In 2011, Fiji beat the Kumuls at Mount Hagen before losing the return match in Port Moresby. Gunshots did not deter the Bati as they put their lives on the line to upset the Kumuls 26-12 in front of its diehard supporters. Last year, Australia and New Zealand could not make the trip, so a NSW Country side, which included three British Army players, defeated the Fiji Residents at Albert Park.
Fiji National Rugby League chairman Peni Musunamasi, who introduced the event, said the clash was always exciting as players from Australia, Fiji and New Zealand rubbed shoulders for a spot in the Bati side.