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Fiji Time: 10:47 AM on Friday 25 April

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Fiji makes AFL final

Rashneel Kumar
Friday, December 13, 2013

FIJI made good use of the windy conditions yesterday to cruise through to the 2013 AFL Youth Oceania Cup final.

The defending champions will face Nauru at 2.30pm at the Suva Grammar School grounds in Veiuto today.

Fiji, following a poor start in the tournament after slumping to third place in the AFL Oceania Lightning Cup Carnival on Tuesday, made a grand comeback to stay on track in its title defence campaign.

Yesterday, the Jonathan Chongkit-coached national under-16 side defeated Tonga 31-21 to finish runner-up after the preliminary rounds of competition.

"It was a good win over Tonga and we hope to maintain that performance in the final," Chongkit said.

Nauru is the only unbeaten team in the tournament after beating Fiji 56-13 while Tonga overcame Fiji/Vanuatu 27-22 in the other match yesterday.

Chongkit said they would work on their weak areas detected during the match against Nauru and prepare accordingly for the showdown.

AFL development officer Pacific Ben Drew anticipates a tough final.

"Nauru is a very strong side and they have been fantastic in the tournament so far. It will be very hard to beat (Nauru) but Fiji played very well against Tonga as well," Drew said.

"All teams have improved."

Drew said fitness would play a vital role in the finals today.

"We have played five or six games in the last three days so the boys are really tired and it's going to be the team that prepare themselves better for the grand final.

"It has certainly been very close games, we hadn't had many one-sided matches.

"The games been very tight and the boys have been fantastic in the way they have been playing."

Chongkit has called on fans to come out in numbers and support the team.

Tonga will play Fiji/Vanuatu for the 3rd/4th place playoff at 1pm.