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Cowboys Tell How

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games gold medallist Iosefo Masi, and Taniela Sadrugu have been under Australia’s National Rugby League (NRL) club North Queensland Cowboys’ radar the past 12 months while they were playing rugby in local sevens’ tour­naments.
31 Oct 2021 12:13
Cowboys Tell How
Picture from left to right : Tomasi Tikonilia , Iosefo Masi and Taniela Sadrugu

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games gold medallist Iosefo Masi, and Taniela Sadrugu have been under Australia’s National Rugby League (NRL) club North Queensland Cowboys’ radar the past 12 months while they were playing rugby in local sevens’ tour­naments.

It was done with the two players not aware that their performances were being monitored.

This was revealed to SUNsports by Cowboys recruitment manager Dale Campbell soon after the Fijian players arrived in Brisbane, Aus­tralia, yesterday.

“I made an approach to both Tan­iela and Iosefo after the Olympics had concluded,” Campbell said.

“We had been watching their pro­gress the past 12 months in various sevens’ tournaments in Fiji along with the Oceania 7s.”

He said the recommendation of the two players was done by former Fijian Bati and NRL player Wise Kativerata.

“My friend Wise Kativerata recommended all players and he has had an incredible suc­cess rate with previous players such as Semi Radradra, Suliasi Vunivalu, Viliame Kikau and Semi Valemei,” Campbell added.

“So, I was very happy to take on board his recommendations and hopefully these boys can go on to have similar successful careers in the NRL.”

The other Fijian player accompanying the duo is Nasinu Secondary School’s top sprint­er, Tomasi Tikonilia.

In March, Tikonilia clocked 10.93 seconds in the senior boys’ 100 metres race and has also represented the Fijian Under-16 rugby team.

“We hope both Taniela and Iosefo will en­joy the challenge of transitioning to rugby league. We believe that Taniela will bring aggression and power while Masi brings skill and speed. Fans are very excited about watching them progress.

“Tomasi is a longer term proposition as he was an elite level sprinter for Nasinu at the Coca-Cola Games, so we expect him to de­velop as a top class winger over the coming years.

“Our training facilities are incredible and with a comprehensive physical performance and well-being programme we trust that all three players will benefit greatly.

“We understand it will be a big adjustment but all three players are exceptional tal­ents and we will give them the time they need to devel­op.”

Campbell said Masi and Sadrugu would be eligible for NRL selection after Round 10; this will base on their performances with their affiliate Intrust Super Cup team. “Tomasi will train with our Young Guns (Under-20) squad.

“Taniela and Masi will train full time with our NRL squad alongside the likes of Ja­son Taumalolo, Valentine Holmes, Chad Townsend, Cohen Hess, Hamiso Tabuai-Fid­ow and others.

“We will train Taniela in the forwards, Masi in the outside backs (centre/ wing) and Tomasi at wing.”

He is hope­ful that Sad­rugu, Masi and Tomasi will have long and success­ful careers with the Cowboys.

“We previously had Noa Nadruku and Napolini Kuricibi playing NRL for us many years ago. Last season we had Fijian Austral­ian player Laitia Moceidreke making his de­but for us.

“We aim to continue to develop strong ties with the Fiji National Rugby League over the coming years and provide more oppor­tunities to talented and hard-working young Fijian players.”

Edited by Leone Cabenatabua



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