Feature | Rugby League

Australia Here To Help: Feakes

Feakes believes sports will continue to play a critical role in developing the relationship between Australia and Fiji at different levels.
10 Oct 2019 14:50
Australia Here To Help: Feakes
Australian High Commissioner to Fiji John Feakes with Australian women’s team member Amanda Thomas at Suva’s Grand Pacific Hotel on October 9, 2019. Photo: Australian High Commission

The Prime Minister’s XIII match between Fiji and Australia will show rugby league’s potential to grow in Fiji, says John Feakes.

The Australian High Commissioner made the comment as the teams prepare to do battle in the inaugural clash at the ANZ Stadium tomorrow.

The action will start with the Australian women’s team, captained by Queensland veteran Karina Brown, taking on the impressive Fijian Bulikula.

The men’s game is next with Cronulla Sharks captain Wade Graham leading a strong Australian side against Brandon Costin’s Fiji PM XIII

The two matches were announced as part of Australian PM Scott Morrison’s visit to Fiji in January, with Australia keen to support the growth of rugby league in the country.

Both Morrison and his Fijian counterpart Voreqe Bainimarama will attend the match, along with Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne.

Feakes believes sports will continue to play a critical role in developing the relationship between Australia and Fiji at different levels.

He has urged Fijian fans to turn up for what is expected to be ‘top-level rugby league action’ in Suva.

“It’s also a chance for the NRL and the Australian Rugby League community to thank Fiji for the huge amount of stars that it has provided to Australia going back decades,” he said.

“Sports play a critical role in developing relations between Australia and Fiji. There are many things that we have in common and a love for sport is one of them.

“The wonderful thing about sports is that it transcends politics, it transcends everything. When you’re sitting in the stands next to a Fijian watching a rugby game, you’re both enjoying and understand the same thing.”

Feakes believes Fijian players have the natural ability to succeed at rugby league, even though a majority of them opt to play rugby union.

He hopes to see Fiji host more international rugby league matches in the future.

“We do think that rugby league, from a relatively low base, a lot of potentials to grow,” he said.

“Over time, I hope that Fiji plays hosts to more top-level rugby league games.

“Fiji is a wonderful sports destination. It has the necessary infrastructure to host a top-level sporting contest and, of course, it has wonderful tourism infrastructure as well.”

Edited by Osea Bola

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