Civoniceva told to sign M.O.U.

  Fiji National Rugby League (FNRL) chief executive officer Timoci Naleba says, Petero Civoniceva must sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) before the official announcement on Fiji’s NSW Cup bid
23 Jan 2018 11:00
Civoniceva told to sign M.O.U.
Coastline Roos battle it out against Coastal Owls during the Nadroga rugby league competition. The FNRL wants local players to play in the NSW Cup comp in 2019. Photo: Zimbio


Fiji National Rugby League (FNRL) chief executive officer Timoci Naleba says, Petero Civoniceva must sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) before the official announcement on Fiji’s NSW Cup bid is made.

He confirmed yesterday that FNRL has sent their endorsement to Civoniceva on the condition that what they want to be implemented is done.

“If Petero and his team don’t do what we want then we will take back our endorsement. “We had done this before after there was a misunderstanding. We’re doing this on the spirit of goodwill to help develop our local based-players,” Naleba said.

He said the MOU safeguard the interest of local- based rugby league players.

“Once Petero replies and signs the MOU then we will be able to set the date regarding the joint announcement of the New South Wales Rugby League (NSWRL) Cup bid,” he said.

Naleba said the MOU was given to Civoniceva and his team and clearly highlights some criteria that needed to be met in order for an agreement to be made.

“We want to make sure that the spirit of the initiative is preserved primarily in safeguarding the interests of the local players.”

Naleba said the main goal for initiating the NSW Cup bid was primarily for the development of local players.

“FNRL views the NSW Cup bid as a way to develop our local players, it is not for making money neither is it some sort of business venture. We want the squad composition to be 100 percent local players, no overseas players, but locals. This is where all players in the team are locally based.”

He said this need to be met because it is in line with the KALAWA development programme.

“So by 2021 Rugby League World Cup we will have a dominated locally based- squad for the RLWC. We want this implemented because we don’t want to send our local players to the RLWC just to be spectators, but rather to dominate the numbers in the squad and also play.”



The endorsement by FNRL is a step closer to Civoniceva’s dream of a Fijian team playing in the NSW Cup from next year.

According to, Civoniceva, who captained the Bati at the 2013 World Cup, believes his three-year campaign for a Fijian team in the Intrust Super Premiership NSW will finally come to fruition in 2019 after the FNRL wrote to the NSWRL to advise they had formally endorsed the bid at a recent board meeting.

“The endorsement of the FNRL was the missing piece in the jigsaw so now that we have got that it allows us to start to set up for 2019,” Civoniceva told

“We are obviously now going to make a major announcement and will then get on our way towards meeting all the criteria set by the NSWRL to have a team ready for the 2019 season.”

The backing of FNRL was the final hurdle for Civoniceva to secure support and funding from the government and sponsors in Fiji for the team.



The former Brisbane Broncos prop has been in discussions with sponsors to help provide the $AU1.5 million (FJ$2.4m) needed to cover operating costs, including flights and accommodation for visiting NSW Cup clubs in Fiji.

“To have the endorsement of the FNRL, there is obviously benefits for companies that sponsor the bid in Fiji and that is why it was important,” he said.

“Now we have that it allows us to go to the sponsors we have been speaking to for some time to let them know we have ticked every box in terms of getting those endorsements in place.”



A team in the NSW Cup would be a massive boost to the game in Fiji, which has qualified for the semi-finals of the past three World Cups in 2008, 2013 and 2017.

With more than 25 Fijian players in the NRL last season there is no shortage of talent in the island nation and the Bati scored the country’s greatest rugby league victory when they defeated New Zealand 4-2 in November’s World Cup quarter final at Wellington.

The success of the PNG Hunters in the Queensland Cup has provided a blue-print for the Fiji bid and the NSWRL is keen to replicate that model in 2019 provided Civoniceva can satisfy conditions about finances, organisational structure and the quality of their playing and training facilities.

“There are obviously financial matters that need to be adhered to and we have to have those ticked off by the NSWRL, and then once we do that we can get underway,” he said.

“Providing we can prove ourselves financially viable and sustainable we will be ready to go in 2019.”

–  Edited by Leone Cabenatabua



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