Fiji NSWRL Bid

Date: 19/9/15

As the PNG Hunters home in on a first Queensland Rugby League (Intrust Super) Cup Final, the official birth of a Fijian team to compete in the New South Wales Cup could be confirmed before the end of the month. Petero Civoniceva is heading Fiji’s bid, and he says final approval from the rugby league authorities is just weeks away. And taking their inspiration from the success of the Hunters, the Brisbane Broncos great says everyone involved with the Fiji project can’t wait to get started.

www.abc.net.au/news/2015-09-16/fiji-rugby-league-bid-for-a-spot-in-the-nsw-cup/6779306?section=sport

 

Richard Ewart:
Definitely gives you perfect motivation to really push toward getting this Fijian side in the NSW Cup.

Petero Civoniceva:
“We’ve just come from back from a recent meeting with the NRL, where I was able to sit with Dave Smith and the rest of the NRL senior management and it was a very positive meeting, their very excited to hear about a bid proposal and certainly looking towards getting us into the NSW Cup competition for the 2017 season.

We’re just waiting on approval and confirmation by the NRL, so it is very exciting and things are looking really positive and we’ve got everything in place towards getting us ready to play in the 2017 season.”

Richard Ewart:
“So, if you get that final approval that you sound very confident that you will get quite soon now. Everything is ready to go, in terms of where you’ll play, where the players will come from, how the whole thing will be worked out?”

Petero Civoniceva:
Yeah, very much so, behind the scenes we’ve been working hard for almost two years trying to organise the team facilities, the recruitment of players, identifying coaches, our support staff and also securing vital corporate sponsorship for this team to compete in what is a very tough competition.

Richard Ewart:
What about the travel aspect for the team who will be going to and from Suva presumably every other week. Are there lessons that you can learn perhaps from the PNG experience on that?”

Petero Civoniceva:
“Yeah I guess what’s helped their bid (club) being so successful is that they’ve had a full-time training facility. That’s certainly helped toward the commitments the players need to make in terms of playing at such a high level. So, I think that’s something we definitely will replicate, and also to have some accommodation there too, so players can reside there in the facility as well. It’s all about getting the balance right and making sure, as players they’ve got everything they need to compete at a high level and also knowing you have to fit into family time and any extra work they may do, any studying or part-time work, things like that. We’re very mindful of that, but definitely we can look toward the PNG Hunters that are an entity that have really got it right, in terms of getting their players ready to play.”

Richard Ewart: Would you anticipate, the Fiji team would have a similar community based setup really to that of the Hunters. The players are basically living and playing with each other most of the time

Petero Civoniceva:
“Yeah that’s right, and we’ve basically wanted to do that. How their team works, the way they do stay in camp, there are (certainly) more positives and that is evident by the way they have performed this year and living together, training together, helps towards building a very strong team unit and building a strong culture within a organisation.”

Richard Ewart:
“As well as this initiative, there’s also the Melanesian (Club) Challenge coming up quite soon, which will be played for between the champions of the Digicel Cup, the Agmark Gurias, and whoever the champions turn out to be in Fiji. There seems to be a real explosion if you like in the development of the sport within the (Pacific) Islands.”

Petero Civoniceva:
Yeah that’s right, it’s been fantastic work by the NRL to have development officers in most of the Pacific regions, now we’ve got full-time NRL employees in PNG, Samoa, Tonga and of course now in Fiji. It’s a great way to follow up what’s been a huge groundswell of fanfare around the NRL and it’s great to see so much support for rugby league. It’s growing and it’s only going to continue to grow, so it’s fantastic that internationally there are opportunities for local domestic team to play at a higher level and the Melanesian Cup, it’s a great idea, wonderful concept and it certainly gives local players an opportunity to see what it is like going up against their rivals from another Pacific country. So again, it’s going to further enhance the rise of the popularity of the game in the Pacific.”

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