For the fourth consecutive year, Brad Fittler and Andrew Johns have ventured to Fiji to conduct Rugby League clinics to provide a pathway for potential players who could make it into the NRL.
Fellow True Blue, Danny Buderus, joined Fittler and Johns to hold school clinics and open training sessions across the country.
The clinics aimed to not only bring bridge the gap between the ever-popular Rugby Union and Rugby League, but so the Fijian locals could have a taste of Rugby League with three of the game’s best players.
“We want to show these super talented kids that there are pathways outside of Rugby Union for them to use their natural abilities,” said Johns.
“With roughly a third of all the players in the NRL being of a Pacific Island descent, I think the message is getting through that they can have a crack at the NRL.”
Fittler and Johns discovered Eto Nabuli on the 2013 trip, who went on to become the top try-scorer in the Intrust Super Premiership NSW the following year, and made his NRL debut with the St George Illawarra Dragons in 2015.
Nabuli’s journey inspired many and has seen the attendance and popularity of the trip grow year after year.
“It’s great to see kids who was 15 on our first trip, and how their passion for the game as grown as well as their abilities,” Fittler said.
In addition to the clinics, the group attended a dinner with some of the most influential business figured in Fiji.
The aim was to gain financial support for the game at a grassroots level as well as their thoughts on how to internationally grow the game of Rugby League.
“It’s great to have the backing of businesses like ITS, Pipetech, Jacks of Fiji, Jet Boards, the Fiji Orchid and Palms Resort to do what we do here,” Fittler said.
“As well as the New South Wales Rugby League, we wouldn’t be here without them.”