Kaiviti Silktails speedster Vuate Karawalevu will make the make switch from the Ron Massey Cup to make his Jersey Flegg debut this weekend with the Roosters naming him on their bench for the Round Nine game against the Eels on Saturday 8 May.
It’s another milestone for the 20-year-old Karawalevu, who is in his first season of Rugby League after swapping codes from rugby when he joined the Silktail’s Elite Development Pathway program in Suva late last year.
The 192cm back who now weighs in at 99.5kg was picked in the 28-man Silktails squad to spend the 2021 season in Sydney as part of the NSWRL’s Ron Massey Cup competition.
Karawalevu has been a stand-out for the Silktails, scoring three tries in his six games so far on top of a hat-trick in a pre-season trial against the Mascot Jets. He is also moving up the list in try assists for his team.
Kaiviti Silktails CEO Steve Driscoll said the jump between Ron Massey Cup and Jersey Flegg was not a massive one and Karawalevu had been having sessions with the Roosters Under 21s side to get to know his teammates.
“From a physical standpoint the Ron Massey Cup standard is stronger than Jersey Flegg with the amount of reserve graders and former NRL players now playing in this competition,” Driscoll said.
“Vuate has got such great game sense. His ability to put himself in the right position, to put others in the right position is up there with guys who have played the game for years.
“Certainly there may be a few errors defensively but because he’s been on the wing for the Silktails mostly, he’s been able to watch what’s going on inside of him, and he’s learned very quickly.
“He’s become one of the strike players for the Silktails. There’s a real presence about him.”
The Roosters and Silktails have an agreement for 2021, which began with several opposed sessions together as well as allowing younger members of the Fijian team an opportunity to play Jersey Flegg.
“Vuate has taken the entire path of coming to us via rugby, then getting in to our EDP (Elite Development Pathway) program for league, which then transferred into the Silktails pre-season giving him time to keep progressing physically,” Driscoll said.
“Since he’s been in Australia he does double sessions where he trains with the Silktails during the day and then with the Roosters Jersey Flegg in the evening. We’ve been managing his training loads to allow him to maximise his footy education at the same time.
“Vuate is proving what we wanted to do with the Kaiviti Silktails – provide a path for local Fijian players into the Australian competitions and ultimately an NRL Club.”
The Roosters-Eels match kicks off at 5.30pm on Saturday at Ringrose Park.
The Silktails’ participation in the NSWRL’s Ron Massey Cup is proudly supported by the Australian Government through PacificAus Sports.