The Kaiviti Silktails once again have to make adjustments to their attacking spine due to injury but coach Wes Naiqama believes he’s striking gold with the replacements he’s bringing in.
Ropate Tobe has played the past two games at fullback for the Fijian Ron Massey Cup side following a shoulder injury to Ratu Jilivecevece, who is at least two weeks away from returning.
Mataivalu Rugby League junior Tobe stepped up in his absence after scoring the first hat-trick of his career last weekend in the 38-26 win over Western Suburbs Magpies.
“Ropate is the complete player,” Naiqama said.
“He’s a threat when he runs the ball and he also ball-play. He has a lot of energy around the ball and always seems to be there when there’s an opportunity on offer.
“Two of his three tries were from supporting and putting himself in the right position.”
After moving hooker Peni Tagituimua to halfback two weeks ago, Naiqama named Penaia Leveleve for the Magpies game to come off the bench into the No.9 role.
“We lost Pena, a debutant last week, fractured his eye socket,” Naiqama said.
“He got a knee to the head and he also jumped over a defender and face-planted so not sure which incident caused it. But his eye blew up straight after the game. He went to the hospital and will be out four weeks or so.”
Naiqama has now moved lock Samuel Daveta into starting No.9 to face the Mounties on Saturday fpr their Round Seven match against Mounties with the Silktails chasing their third win in a row.
“Again – just take the score line out of it for a second – I want to see improvement in all aspects, especially our slow starts after halftime,” Naiqama said.
“It’s been a common theme in our past few games and we need to tidy that up.
“We’ve also been working hard on being efficient in defence. It’s a hard position playing in the middle, but these boys are starting to understand what their roles are there and how important it is for the outcome of our game.
“We’re coming up against a Mounties team with a really big pack. They’ve got a lot of ball movement in them and we have to be really honest on the edges.”
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.