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Bati battle

Maikeli Seru
Thursday, September 14, 2017

THE road to the 2017 Rugby League World Cup (RLWC) selection is getting narrower for players intending to be part of the Vodafone Fiji Bati squad to Australia next month.

After the Vodafone Fiji Residents beat Canada 22-6 in Vancouver last weekend, the fight to be included in the 26-member squad to Townsville and Canberra has intensified.

Fiji National Rugby League chief executive officer Timoci Naleba said the performance of local-based players had made it difficult to select the Fiji team. "The general feeling is that the Fijian team was superior than Canada but let us not forget that Canada has semi-professional players," Naleba said.

"Canada had defeated USA and our local boys showed that they can perform at the top level if given the right training and right environment.

"After the team left for Canada, we saw that the Inter-Zone competition remained very competitive. This means that players can compete for positions held by the Fiji Bati Residents players. No one is confirmed for position for the Battle of the Bati.

Brothers Mosese and Etuate are among promising local-based players.

"They have to compete again in the East versus West State of Origin to select the team for the Battle of the Bati against overseas Fiji Bati on October 4."

He said the overseas-based players would mostly be National Rugby League (NRL) affiliates players.

"We have players such as Sisa Waqa, Marcelo Montoya who is a wing for Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs, Rabbitohs outside Back Sitiveni Moceidreke, Taane Milne (St George Illawarra Dragons), and Ben Nakubuwai (Sunshine Coast). The team to play the Residents Bati is a very powerful team. There are 20 overseas Fiji Bati who have confirmed to play on October 7," he said.

The match will be held at the ANZ Stadium, Suva.

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