Talei optimistic Sharks can make Capital City proud, ready for semis

The Police Sharks rugby league team after their Vodafone Cup match at Bidesi Grounds on Saturday, May 26, 2018. Picture: JOVESA NAISUA

The Vodafone Cup 2020 semi-finals will take place this Saturday at the Prince Charles Park in Nadi. FNRL head of match operations, Epeli Tagivetaua confirmed that the double-header matches are now confirmed at the rugby league stronghold.

Police Sharks captain Filipo Talei believes a win over the Saru Dragons at Prince Charles Park would complete Akuila Masi’s goal of “bringing the pride back to the East” which the coach set for the team when he took over the role in 2017.

The Sharks got out of jail in last week’s knockout against Panthers with a 6-point lead minutes to fulltime, cementing their place in the cup semi-finals.

Not since 2016 have the Sharks won their only Premiership in Nadi, but losing the last three years at the knockout stages.

Talei, Apenisa Canasau, Arthur Snow, Iliesa Saulaca and Semisi Qoro are the only five players remaining from the squad that scooped their first premiership title in 2016 – an incredible result that runs deeply in the Sharks brigade.

Sharks have enjoyed their best success under Masi in the 2016 period but Talei said winning the semi-final decider in enemy territory would sit highly on his list of career accomplishments.

“We have a great chance to bring the pride back to Suva,” Talei said.

“The big one for easterners was bringing that pride back in the Eastern State when it was pretty lost five years ago when westerners have been dominating.

“You can’t get it any better than that. It’s the talk of the State and our coach and manager have all spoken to us about that. It’s a big opportunity for us to be mentioned alongside traditional favorites of this game.

“You don’t really think about the history and achievements but rather play in the moment

“If we are to win it would be a cool achievement and be captain of this team it’s very special.”

Fixtures: Match 1: Coastline Roos v Burenitu Cowboys, kick-off: 12 midday Match 2: Saru Dragons v Police Sharks, kick-off: 2:10pm Venue: Prince Charles Park, Nadi

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