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Semi Ready For Raiders

It was a tough decision leaving Seaqaqa at 17 to go overseas and live my dream. I never played rugby league before I came to Australia: Valemei
23 May 2020 14:31
Semi Ready For Raiders
Fijian-born Semi Valemei (left) has been named in the Canberra Raiders team for the National Rugby League May 28 return. Photo: Canberra Raiders

Fijian-born Semi Valemei, 21, has been named in the Canberra Raiders 30-member squad when the NRL competition resumes next week.

The Naividamu, Macuata native is ready play in the big league after he secured a two-year contract with the Raiders in 2018.

The former Seaqaqa Central College student had never played rugby league until he went to Australia.

He was identified from his village in 2017 by rugby league scout Wise Kativerata when he was still in Year 12.

He spent a few weeks at Natabua High School while awaiting the completion of his contract and approval of papers. Being born and bred in the village and staying with his parents, moving to Australia at 17 was quite tough. He joined the Caloundra Sharks in Sunshine Coast for one year before he was signed up by the Raiders Under 20.

A year later, he was named in the 30-member squad that is ready for the NRL return on May 28.

“For the first month I found it pretty hard,” he said.

“It was a tough decision for me leaving home at the age of 17 to go overseas and live my dream. I never played rugby league before I came.

“To be honest this means a lot to me and especially my family as a whole, being in a small community and to see where I am now, I think that will make them proud and happier.”

If it was not for rugby, Valemei said he would probably be helping his father, Semisi, back home.

However, he plans to be a personal trainer and to help develop more young players for the future.

The Canberra Raiders will face Melbourne Storm on May 30, where he is like to face fellow Fijians Tui Kamikamica and Suliasi Vunivalu.

The exciting young winger can’t wait to wear the green jersey and be like fellow Fijian Noa Nadruku who was named as one of the best 25 players during the Raiders’ 25-year anniversary.

“I’m really looking forward to it. I’m really excited and nervous to be playing in front of a huge crowd. It is a dream come true.”

Valemei played for Fiji at the World Cup 9s last year.

In their World Cup Nines: Raider Watch, they wrote:

“Semi Valemei: A name that not many Raiders fans will be familiar with, however, you soon could be.”

He scored three tries in the first half of the Raiders Jersey Flegg Grand Final defeat to the South Sydney Rabbitohs in late September 2019.

Valemei scored nine tries in 17 appearances last season.

Edited by Osea Bola

Feedback: sereana.salalo@fijisun.com.fj

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