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Silktails farewell Australia after breakout season

The Kaiviti Silktails have left Australia after the Ron Massey Cup was one of the NSWRL competitions cancelled due to the lengthy COVID-19 lockdown across the Greater Sydney Region.

But the boys from Fiji will be back in the first week of November – pandemic restrictions allowing – to complete their entire pre-season here. It is hoped they will play at least the first 10 rounds of the Ron Massey Cup in 2022 in Sydney before returning to Fiji for the back-end of the season.

Silktails CEO Stephen Driscoll said the team’s 2021 virtual awards night was held on Tuesday (10 August) and they flew home to Suva the following day.

“There’s a bit of sadness that there was unfinished business left behind, but also a great deal of satisfaction of a job well done – we feel like we’ve left our mark,” Driscoll said.

“We put ourselves in a really good position for a strong finish,” he added.

The Silktails were in the top-six when the Ron Massey Cup was initially suspended at Round 16 in line with the start of the lockdown by the NSW Government at the end of June.

“Everyone in the squad (28 players) received some game time,” Driscoll said.

“We rotated the roster well all year and we were primed to pick our best 17 for the last six weeks, which would have put us in good stead.”

The Rugby League community certainly felt the Silktails presence from the moment they sang on the balconies of their central Sydney hotel to thank the staff there after their mandatory two-week quarantine period ended.

They sang at the end of the six matches they won, and they sang when they went to watch teammates compete in other competitions.

Two players – Peni Tagituimua and Pio Seci - trained with the Sydney Bears in The Knock-On Effect NSW Cup, with hooker and Silktails captain Tagituimua playing four games with them.

Three players – Peni Tagituimua, Apakuki Tavodi and Pio Seci trained with the Roosters NRL side.

One player – centre/winger Vuate Karawalevu – played five games for the Roosters Jersey Flegg side and will begin training with the Roosters NRL Squad when he returns in November.

Fourteen players were named in the extended Fiji Bati World Cup side before the 2021 tournament was postponed.

Kaiviti Silktails Award Winners

Player of the Year: Ratu inoke Vasuturaga. He was the side’s top try-scorer with nine tries. The centre-winger played all 80 minutes in every one of the 12 games.

Rising Star: Vuate Karawalevu. The 20-year-old played 7 games for the Silktails (3 tries) and 5 for the Roosters Jersey Flegg side (9 tries)

Best Forward: Pio Seci. He played seven games in the second row, scoring three tries, before a knee injury curtailed his season.

Best Back: Timoci Bola. He scored seven tries on the wing.

Clubman of the Year: Apakuki Tavodi. He played all 12 games in the front row, scoring two tries.

Staff Member of the Year: Manager Jacquie Shannon. A foundation staff member that has played a key role in the running of the Silktails and transitioning the team from Fiji to Australia for this season.

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.