SPORTS

Valemei Calls Home To Tell His NRL Debut

Valemei made a zoom call back home to his family in Naividamu, Macuata in Vanua Levu to tell them of his debut.
17 Jul 2020 11:59
Valemei Calls Home To Tell His NRL Debut
Semi Valemei.

Canberra Raiders coach Ricky Stuart  brought in rookie Fijian winger Semi Valemei in last night’s NRL clash against Sydney Roosters.

This was after an arm infection ruled out Curtis Scott.

Valemei made a zoom call back home to his family in Naividamu, Macuata in Vanua Levu to tell them of his debut.

He spoke to his sister Loata Wati, who who was excited to find out that her brother was ready to play his first game on the big stage.

Semi Valemei to make NRL debut

When Semi Valemei arrived for training on Wednesday morning, he thought he’d be running against the NRL team as they prepared to take on the Roosters. Little did he know that when Coach Ricky Stuart called him into his office first thing, he’d be told he’d be making his NRL debut this weekend.

His next call was to Raiders Manager of Careers, Welfare, and Education David Thom, who’s been a big mentor for Semi since he arrived from Fiji and has helped him with the transition from Fiji to Canberra.

“He’s a future NRL player,” coach Stuart told AAP.

“He’s a big strong Fijian boy we see a few of in the competition. He has put a lot of work into his game and it’s nice for him to get that opportunity now.”

Valemei had never played rugby league before arriving in Australia in 2018 to join the Raiders, after being identified by a scout at a high school in Seaqaqa, a year earlier.

He scored a first-half hat-trick in the Raiders’ Jersey Flegg grand final loss to South Sydney in 2019, and represented Fiji at last year’s World Cup Nines.

“You much prefer to be debuting these young players in better circumstances,” Stuart who played alongside Noa Nadruku with the Raiders in the 1990s said.

“You want to give them every possibility coming into an occasion at full strength. But the opportunity arrives through the injuries we have at the moment … It’s very exciting for him and his family back home.”

The match was being played when this edition went to press last night.

Edited by Simione Haravanua

Feedback: leonec@fijisun.com.fj

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