The Kaiviti Silktails will play their first game in the Ron Massey Cup tomorrow, a dream that is six years in the making for Silktails Chairman Petero Civoniceva, following a historic decision by the NSWRL which will see Fijian players provided with a pathway to the NRL.
The Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks have become the Silktails NRL partner club for the next three years and they will play their Round 1 match against the Windsor Wolves at Lautoka tomorrow.
Should they happen to catch the eye of Sharks coach John Morris throughout the season they have the potential to be elevated into the Canterbury Cup with the Newtown Jets as a forerunner to a possible career in the NRL.
“We’re very excited and obviously very grateful to Dave Trodden and the NSWRL for giving the opportunity to young players growing up in Fiji that love the game a platform to showcase their talents week in week out, it’s pretty awesome,” Civoniceva said.
“It’s a life changing opportunity for these players and we’ve been privy to the success of the likes of Viliame Kikau, Apisai Koroisau, Suliasi Vunivalu, Maiko Sivo, in most recent times and it’s been amazing.
“There’s definitely some excitement around the Fijian players and what they bring but now that we’re able to tap into local players in communities and villages, to now bring them to Sydney to play in Ron Massey Cup it’s very exciting.
“For families and communities to see players from their villages and surrounds now being a part of something like this is thrilling and hopefully in the process we find a superstar or two.”
Many talented Fijian players have made their mark in the NRL in the past and Civoniceva acknowledged the players on this new pathway will be challenged beyond their normal routine.
“I think there’s a lot of natural flair, we’ve seen that through a lot of the Fijian players that have made it into the NRL, they’re amazing athletes, strong players with a lot to offer,”
“It’s definitely going to a bit of a process getting them used to week in, week out tough competition but this is what it’s all about, exposing them to a higher level of Rugby League.
“This is very much real for a lot of these boys now, they can see that if they apply themselves and work hard, show those characteristics that are synonymous to success it’ll be an opportunity for to develop and hopefully we’ll find some real talent.”
The Kaiviti Silktails are proudly supported by the Australian Government through PacificAus Sports.
The Kaiviti Silktails were admitted to the Ron Massey Cup in October in a historic decision by the NSWRL which will see Fijian players provided with another pathway to play Rugby League. The inclusion of the Silktails has also been made possible through support from the Australian Government’s PacificAus Sports Program. The Silktails' first match is against Windsor at Lautoka on Saturday 14 March.