THE Fiji National Rugby League has been urged to set up a High Performance Unit as part of its development strategy.
After 21 years of rugby league's existence in the country, some coaches and former national reps feel it is time for FNRL to set up a HPU system.
And with the funding available from major sponsor Vodafone Fiji, Nadera Panthers rugby league coach and former Fiji Bati Vula Dakuitoga believes it is about time FNRL takes action.
Australian Institute of Sports coach and former National Rugby League (NRL) star Wise Kativerata says Fiji needs such programs to prepare local players to compete at the highest level.
"Fiji needs a HPU system to help the local players," Kativerata said.
"It's been 21 years and something needs to be done. Scout young players, get them in the system and when it's time for them to play at top level, they are ready for it because they've gone through the HPU system."
Dakuitoka stated the same sentiments.
"It's about time a HPU system is set up within the FNRL," Dakuitoga said.
"We have the funding now and I believe a HPU system will help develop local players to another level.
"When they go for overseas contracts, they have bridged the gap which used to be there before because they've gone through all types of training at the HPU."
Dakuitoga questioned the development of FNRL saying from the 2008 Rugby League World Cup, Fiji failed in its development program.
"When we look at the 2008 RLWC, we had a lot of local players but we lost 0-52 to Australia, and last year we had a lot of overseas players and only two local players who did not even play and we lost 0-64 to Australia.
"I don't know what happened but what transpired we can question the development program.
"If we have a HPU system, it will help provide more competition among players who want to don the Fiji jersey."
FNRL general manager Tomi Finau said they had plans in place to set up the HPU system.
"That is something we are looking at this year," he said.
"We will be setting up an academy, we will select 25 players after the secondary school competition from the under-15 to under-19 to go through skills training.
"Our technical team will be looking into that matter."