League surge in Fiji

THE Vodafone Fiji Bati fought like true Fijian warriors against world champion Australia in the Rugby League World Cup (RLWC) semi-final on Friday.

Our world cup campaign ended there, but more good news is in store for Fiji National Rugby League (FNRL) after Fiji’s brave performance in Australia and New Zealand.

Among them is the bid to play in the New South Wales Cup in Australia.

Rugby league legend and former Fiji Bati skipper, Petero Civoniceva said the formation and inclusion of the Fiji Intrust Super Premiership NSW team would be a wonderful platform for local-based Fijian players to play in Australia’s next best competition below the National Rugby League (NRL).

“The reality of the wonderful achievements of the Fiji Bati in the RLWC are that almost the entire playing squad has been developed in Australia from junior rugby league through to senior football,” he said in email yesterday.

“How do we increase the development of our local players? We will be the missing link in the development pathway for our local Fijian talent for the FNRL. The recent success of the PNG Hunters playing in the Queensland Intrust Super Cup provides the perfect template to work from.”

Civoniceva has been spearheading the move to play in the NSW Cup to help promote and improve rugby league in Fiji.

“Being independently run by my bid management team, we will offer full-time professional playing opportunity based in Fiji. The New South Wales Intrust Super Premiership is chosen because of the large financial logistics in being easily accessible from our home training base in Fiji.

“We will offer 30 full-time professional playing contracts to our players who will be chosen through a trial process. Our season will run from March to September featuring 13 home games in Fiji and 12 away games in Sydney and one in New Zealand.”

Civoniceva is expected to meet FNRL soon for the endorsement of the bid.

“Once we receive the endorsement, we will start ASAP to ensure that we are ready and competitive for the 2019 season,” he said.

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