Fijian international Peni Tagituimua gets his second start in North Sydney’s line-up for The Knock-On Effect NSW Cup match against Canberra on Sunday.
All the action from this Round 12 match between the Bears and the Raiders at North Sydney Oval can be seen from 2pm on NSWRL-TV’s live stream.
The Bears are trying to stay in touch with the top-six – they currently sit in fifth spot – while the Raiders are trying to force their way into the six from seventh position.
The Bears have had to call in recruitments as players like Adam Keighran, Daniel Suluka-Fifita, Fletcher Baker and Joseph Suaalii have been promoted to the Roosters NRL side, hit by a string of long-term injuries and now suspensions.
Bears v Mounties NSW Cup Highlights Round 11
Tagituimua is a beneficiary of this juggling act as he again moves up from the Kaiviti Silktails in Ron Massey Cup. He came off the bench to play No.9 in the Bears’ 20-10 win over Mounties last weekend. He is listed to start this Sunday.
Silktails centre Vuate Karawalevu will play his third game in the Roosters Jersey Flegg side this week. The Roosters and Silktails have entered an agreement on player development for the 2021 season.
Tagituimua is no stranger to big-game occasions. He has played three Tests for the Fiji Bati and he is currently Silktails captain having played both hooker and halfback in seven games in Ron Massey Cup this year.
Silktails CEO Steve Driscoll said one of the reasons the Fijians entered the Australian domestic competition was to get players under the noses of NRL clubs.
“The mindset of the Kaiviti Silktails has always been to win the Ron Massey Cup but we’ve also made it really clear to the players that if there’s an opportunity for their own development, we want them to go up to NSW Cup and NRL and play,” Driscoll said.
“We’re sitting sixth at the moment so if it got to the situation where we needed them towards the end of the season – where our stocks might be getting thin – we can always pull them back.”
Roosters NRL coach Trent Robinson watched the Bears-Mounties game last weekend and spoke to Driscoll afterwards about Tagituimua’s first game in The Knock-On Effect NSW Cup.
“He thought Peni really looked comfortable out there physically, was really happy with his composure and choices,” Driscoll said.
The Bears will need more of that against the Raiders on Sunday. North Sydney is 5-4 so far with one draw, but they are 2-2 from their past four games.
Canberra are having their own problems with consistency. Since the Round Seven bye, the Raiders have lost three in a row against the Rabbitohs, the Knights and the Western Suburbs Magpies.
Magpies v Raiders NSW Cup Highlights Round 11
But the Raiders are fourth in The Knock-On Effect NSW Cup for line-break assists, which dovetails into being fourth in the number of tries scored (42), or sixth behind the Eels in third place.
So their attack is hitting its straps, but their defence has been found wanting – they lead the competition for ineffective tackles after 11 rounds.