Buoyed by the success of their first win of the season Kaiviti Silktails coach Wes Naiqama is pleased to see the skills of his players starting to match the endurance standard needed for the Ron Massey Cup competition.
The six tries-to-three (36-16) Round five win over the Dirty Reds last weekend pleased Naiqama on several fronts.
“Overall it was an 80-minute effort and defensively we kept them down to 16 points,” he said of the victory, after the Silktails conceded 56 points against St Marys in Round three and 30 against the Windsor Wolves in Round four.
Naiqama has stuck with the same team for this Saturday’s Round six game against the Western Suburbs Magpies apart from two positions – winger Josua Waqavesi and second rower Pio Seci, one of the try scorers against the Dirty Reds.
Seci will miss the next two games after taking an early plea on a grade two crusher tackle. Waqavesi, meanwhile, is on the hunt for a well-fitting mouth guard, after biting his tongue.
“It was a pretty nasty cut. He ended up having to go to the hospital to have it treated,” said Naiqama.
Timoci Bola comes in for Waqavesi, with Maika Serulevu replacing Seci in the back row. One player Naiqama is glad to keep in the side is centre Ratu Inoke Vasuturaga, who has scored in all three games so far.
“That’s just the skill in our centres and our back rowers - there is just so much strike out wide,” he said.
“That was a big reason in changing our spine, so we could get the ball more to our edges and more quickly.
“We want to build these combinations over the next few weeks based on our defence.”
So that means halfback Waisale Nayavucere remains at five-eighth and hooker Peni Tagituimua stays at No.7. Ropate Tobe also gets another game at fullback.
Regarding match fitness, that is coming off the back of better defensive work.
“We’re still a few weeks away in terms of full match fitness and our tidiness (around the ruck). But we’ve only had three weeks together – we had a bye the first round and round two was washed out,” Naiqama said.
“So I feel we’re four to six weeks away from peak fitness but we’re tracking in the right direction.”
The Silktails’ participation in the NSWRL’s Ron Massey Cup is proudly supported by the Australian Government through PacificAus Sports.