Bati to rise up
17 November, 2017, 12:00 am
The Vodafone Fiji Bati need to rise up to the occasion and take its cue from Pacific neighbours Mate Ma’a Tonga’s historic victory over New Zealand last Saturday.
Tonga can do a big favour to Fiji’s quarter-final campaign by providing the right formula for the Kiwi’s downfall.
First, you must have robust and barnstorming forwards to wreak havoc on the opposition’s defensive line.
Tonga has arguably the best and most destructive forwards with Taumalolo, Fifita and Taukeiaho leading the charge.
They are the “engine room” of the team where its sheer power and strength is centred. Its prime job is to break down the defensive wall and gives the team the ascendancy.
Surely, the Bati forwards will have to play with more aggression and grit to create that necessary boil over from the engine room.
Secondly, the Bati requires a magnificent halves partnership to steer and direct play. They supplement the go-forward gained by the forwards with incisive running, pinpoint box kicks and slick passing. Tonga’s halves pairing of Hingano and Lolohea must be commended for intelligent play leading to incredible tries.
Lolohea’s calculated spot kick which led to a beautiful try to David Fusitua, is a copybook from Cooper Cronk and Cameron Smith, who play for Melbourne Storm and Australia.
Thirdly, Tonga really is the only team with an extra 14th player on the field.
This comes in the form of their diehard fans. Never seen before in RLWC, a fans club so patriotic and fanatic like the Tongan red mob.
Ever since Taumalolo and the rest of the NRL stars decided to don the red jersey, the Tongan fans have rallied to provide the lung power for their small island nation.
The scenario of the stadium decked in a sea of red, amid the echoing of Tongan hymns — one could easily have mistaken the game is being held in Nukualofa.
This was what lifted the players to play their hearts out. Even down 16 – 2 at halftime, the morale was not lowered.
Spurred on by the fans, the Tongans lifted the tempo and gave their all. They seem to grow an extra limb and were pumped up to do the unthinkable. The rest is history.
So, yes, go Bati go and learn a few tips from Tonga and repeat history. As proven by Mate Ma’a Tonga, it can be done.