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First For Fiji

  Melbourne Storm winger Suliasi Vunivalu makes his debut for the Vodafone Fijian Bati side in the Test match against Tonga this Saturday at Campbelltown Stadium in New South Wales.
04 May 2017 11:05
First For Fiji
Vodafone Fijian Bati captain Kevin Naiqama training in Campbelltown in New South Wales on May 3, 2017. Photo: Tara White

 

Melbourne Storm winger Suliasi Vunivalu makes his debut for the Vodafone Fijian Bati side in the Test match against Tonga this Saturday at Campbelltown Stadium in New South Wales.

Head Coach Michael Potter has announced his line up yesterday and Navave village, Bua native will start at wing alongside  Canterbury Bulldogs’ Marcelo Montoya as captain Kevin Naiqama starts from his traditional fullback position.

Waqa Blake and Taane Milne start at midfield positions. South Sydney Rabbitohs Sitiveni Moceidreke will start at stand-off half while Manly Warringah Sea Eagles Henry Raiwalui starts at scrumhalf position.

In the forwards Newcastle Knights Daniel Saifiti and Kane Evans start at prop, Apisai Koroisau starts in hooker position, Viliame Kikau  and Tui Kamikamica in second row position while Korbin Sims starts at loose forward position.

 

Happy To Lead

Wests Tigers winger Naiqama says he feels humbled and proud to be named captain of Fiji Bati for Saturday’s Test match against Tonga at Campbelltown.

With the 2017 Rugby League World Cup coming up at the end of the year, Naiqama said Saturday’s game added extra meaning and incentive for the players — adding to his pride in being named as captain by Coach Mick Potter on Monday.

“It’s definitely a privilege and an honour to receive that captaincy role,” he said.

“I’ll be doing my best for the boys, but there’s also a lot of emotion behind it for me in regards to the fact that I’m representing my family as well and all of my friends in Fiji.

“We’ve got a lot of leaders in the team this year, so I feel like everyone is a captain.

“I don’t feel any burden on me what so ever.

“It’s always a great week being involved with these Fiji boys.”

A long-standing advocate of Pacific rugby league, the 28-year-old said he was thrilled to be part of a triple-header of Pacific Tests at Campbelltown Sports Stadium on Saturday.

“It’s great to see so many players putting their hands up to play for their countries,” he said.

“I think it’s a good thing for rugby league itself, because I know how big it can be.

“Seeing players put their hands up to play for their country encourages all the young people back home to do the same and play rugby league when they get the opportunity to.”

Coming up against a tough Tonga side, Naiqama also gave special praise to fellow Wests Tigers teammate, who will make his international debut for Mate Ma’a at just 18 years of age.

“I’m so happy for him,” enthused Naiqama.

“He’s such a young kid and he’s got such a big future ahead of him.

“I’m stoked that he got the call up for Tonga because he’s been playing unreal for us at Wests Tigers. I definitely wish him all the best for what’s going to be a special game.”

The game will be shown live on Fiji One at 7.40pm.

The other matches are Cook Islands –Papua New Guinea (5.15pm), Samoa-England (9.40pm).

Team;

  1. Kevin Naiqama (Wests Tigers),2. Suliasi Vunivalu (Melbourne Storm),3. Waqa Blake (Penrith Panthers) 4.Taane Milne (St George Illawarra Dragons),5. Marcelo Montoya (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs),6. Sitiveni Moceidreke (South Sydney Rabbitohs),7. Henry Raiwalui (Manly Warringah Sea Eagles),8. Daniel Saifiti (Newcastle Knights),9. Apisai Koroisau (Manly Warringah Sea Eagles),10.  Kane Evans (Sydney Roosters),11.  Viliame Kikau (Penrith Panthers),12.  Tui Kamikamica (Melbourne Storm),13.  Korbin Sims (Brisbane Broncos)

Reserves; 14.  James Storer (Port Kembla),15.  Jacob Saifiti (Newcastle Knights),16.  Eloni Vunakece (Sydney Roosters),17.  Ben Nakubuwai (Gold Coast Titans),18.  Akuila Uate (Manly Warringah Sea Eagles). Rugbyleague .com

 

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