The Kaiviti Silktails have put any religious concerns behind them as they prepare to play Windsor Wolves in Round Four of the Ron Massey Cup, with the game being brought forward to Good Friday.
Originally the match was set down for Easter Saturday afternoon at the Windsor Sports Complex but with that ground still heavily water-logged from the recent wet weather, the game has now shifted tomorrow to Hammondville Oval in Moorebank.
Several players in the Silktails 28-man squad have a strong Christian faith, so playing football on one of the holiest days in the calendar might have been an issue but coach Wes Naiqama maintains his players are comfortable with it.
“It hasn’t really been talked about too much,” Naiqama said.
“With some of the boys and their religious beliefs playing on Sundays has been an issue in the past.
“Certainly, Fiji sides I’ve been involved in like the 2008 World Cup that issue did come up.
“But we’ve got a travelling pastor with us in Sydney and he’s talked to all of us so in regards to playing on Good Friday, it’s not ideal but it is what it is.”
Naiqama has condensed his training schedule accordingly and after the 56-6 loss to St Marys last weekend the Fijians are eager to make amends.
“It was a tough initiation into the competition,” Naiqama said. “We knew it would take a bit to adjust to what the standard was here.
“St Marys was a very impressive side but I said after the game, ‘Do I believe they are a 56-point better team than us?’ and I don’t believe so.
“We really struggled with the six-again rule, we got smashed in that department. But it’s when you are put in those uncomfortable situations that you get the most growth.
“We walked away disappointed but we’ve re-set and had a good video session Monday and two good field sessions together to prepare well for Windsor.”
Naiqama has only made one change to his side with forward Tomasi Vakadranu coming onto the bench for Samuel Daveta, who’s been promoted to the starting side at lock. That is due to an ankle injury to Salimoni Nasoki.
“He suffered a high ankle sprain but it’s not as bad as initially thought as there’s no fracture or break there which is good news,” Naiqama said.
“We’ll manage that and hopefully he’s back in around three weeks.”
For Vakradranu it’s the chance he’s been waiting for after being named 18th man for both Round Two and Round Three.
“Tomasi has been pretty impressive since pre-season,” Naiqama said. “He’s been unlucky there’s been a few guys in front of him.
“But as I’ve told all my players, if you’re not in the named 18 each week, you still need to be ready as you might get the call-up.”
The Silktails’ participation in the NSWRL’s Ron Massey Cup is proudly supported by the Australian Government through PacificAus Sports.
The NSWRL receives funding from the Australian Government through PacificAus Sports to support the Silktails’ participation in the NSWRL’s Ron Massey Cup.