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Silktails make most of life in lockdown

The Kaiviti Silktails are making the most of the Greater Sydney lockdown by conducting mid-season reviews while also making early plans for the 2022 Ron Massey Cup season.

While the current 2021 season hasn’t run as smoothly as hoped with weather impacting matches as well as the COVID-19 pandemic bringing all types of disruptions, the Silktails are making their mark.

After starting with two losses, the Silktails went on to win four of their next five and their win-loss record now stands at 5-6 with one draw.

Coach Wes Naiqama has taken the current suspension in NSWRL competitions to give the players feedback and to instil in his team what he wants from them come finals time.

“We’re doing some mid-year reviews with each unit – our middle forwards, halves, left and right edges, backs – where Wes goes through from what we did in round one to what we’re like today,” Silktails CEO Stephen Driscoll said.

“He’s been using videos and other online tools remotely so that’s been really good. We’re also doing individual reviews with players so we’re trying to make the best use of this extra time we’ve now got.

“I’ve also got to start thinking about next year as well and what our roster might look like – who do we want to come back, who needs more development, that kind of thing.

“I think we need to definitely plan to be out here in Sydney again for the first half of 2022 and then hopefully if things go well, go home and play the back half of the season there.”

The COVID-19 situation in Fiji will figure prominently in any plans as well. At present the infection rate is quite high among the Pacific nation – there have been 59 deaths from 12,032 cases since May.

One of the Silktails strength and conditioning staff currently based in Sydney lost her uncle to COVID-19 last Saturday.

“When you’re away from home these things can happen but it doesn’t lessen the impact,” Driscoll said.

Driscoll will be meeting with NSWRL officials in due course as part of his 2022 season planning.

Meantime, after initially being able to train in groups of eight, the Silktails have now adapted to the tighter restrictions from the NSW Department of Health.

“We Facetime as a team each morning to keep our schedules and content as close as it was when there was no lockdown,” Driscoll said.

“We just do things remotely now. You’ve got to remember that unlike a lot of other Ron Massey Cup clubs, our guys don’t work – they don’t go to day-time jobs as part of our visa requirements.

“So we are finding ways to keep them occupied that’s not too different from their lives before.”

The Fijians have been in Sydney since February, in a similar move to the Warriors in the NRL, to keep their place in the Ron Massey Cup competition.

The Silktails’ participation in the NSWRL’s Ron Massey Cup is proudly supported by the Australian Government through PacificAus Sports.