Fijian Dream Team Set For NSW Cup

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PostPosted: Wed May 18, 2016 2:09 pm    Post subject: Fijian Dream Team Set For NSW Cup Reply with quote
Fijian dream team set for NSW Cup
Josh Spasaro
18th May 2016

A SIMPLE conversation between two rugby league diehards is set to change the football landscape in Fiji forever.

If, as expected, the Pacific nation fields a team in the NSW Cup next year, you can trace it back to a chat between the father of former Queensland Reds star Rod Davies - Rod Davies Snr - and Rockhampton Metro Motel owner, Greg Browne.

Browne - part-co-ordinator of the Fiji bid with legend Petero Civoniceva - has been to the country five times where Davies Snr has a family.

On each trip the former Panthers recruitment scout was blown away by the untapped talent and interest in the 13-man game - in the traditional rugby union heartland.

He is adamant that a Fiji team in the NSW Cup would do wonders for the country.

In the space of just three years, that now looks set to happen.

"Rod Snr told me three years ago 'you have to get a team up and running in Fiji'," Browne told Australian Regional Media.

"Tongue in cheek I said 'yeah no worries, I'll just make a few phone calls straight up'.

"But I liked the idea and got to work on it - a few months and a few hundred hours of work later we got a business plan and proposal together, with our media coordinator Joel Morgan.

"Then we had our first meeting with the NSWRL."

Browne's friend and former Bronco Neale Wyatt rang Civoniceva to be the face of the bid as well as part-coordinator - and the former Queensland, Fiji and Australia star was more than happy to agree.

Browne then set off with former Wakefield and Central Queensland Capras coach John Harbin, Raiders recruitment guru Peter Mulholland and Davies Snr to scour the Fiji islands for talent.

They were all left stunned at what they saw.

"The depth of the untapped talent over there is phenomenal," Browne said.

"Brad Fittler and Andrew Johns go over there on recruiting missions and say how much talent there is, but they only see a small percentage of what's on offer.

"We'll have a massive base to choose from."

Browne admits it was daunting selling his idea to the Fiji public "being a foreigner in a foreign country and with no one knowing me".

But with the help of Civoniceva he said the people of Fiji were instantly receptive to the idea, and securing Pacific Building Solutions in Suva as the bid's corporate partner kept the momentum going in the right direction.

The NSWRL Fiji Bid page on Facebook now has almost 50,000 likes.

"Petero has been late for his plane a few times because the people over there love him so much and he never turns down a photo," Browne said.

"Everyone says 'we love rugby union over here but we'll support anything, even marbles'.

"To hopefully have teams go over often to play in such a high-standard competition and to have Fijian players get such great exposure in Australia - it's amazing and I can't believe it could happen."

The Fijian team has a ready-made ground to play at - ANZ Stadium in Suva which can hold almost 20,000.

"The only thing left is to get this across the line, but we've done everything we can to make it happen," Browne said.
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PostPosted: Thu May 19, 2016 2:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Next Wave Of Radradras Bracing For NSW Cup
By Tom Smith
19 May 2016

Fiji bid team to learn their fate this month

The NSWRL is set to start construction on a production line from Suva to Sydney as early as this month when they decide whether to grant Fiji a NSW Cup licence for 2017.

NSWRL officials Dave Trodden, Barrie-Jon Mather and Bob Millward travelled to Fiji in early April to inspect facilities, and bid chief Petero Civoniceva tells RLW he expects a decision by the end of May.

The unknown local league winger who replaced Semi Radradra in the Pacific Test against PNG two weeks ago, Etuate Qionimacawa ( above), bagged three tries on international debut, and Fiji skipper James Storer says there's plenty more where that came from.

"There's so many Semi Radradras running around over there," Storer enthuses. "Man, I tell you what, if this Fiji bid team gets in next year, you give it a couple more World Cups and it's going to be on.

"You're going to see so many more Semi Radradras coming out of Fiji."

The PNG Hunters have been a sensation since joining the Queensland Cup in 2014 and living together in camp in Port Moresby has steeled the super-talented locals into disciplined professionals.

Storer reckons the NSW Cup will have the same effect on his lads.

"The local boys, two words: raw talent. That's it. They're so raw and you don't know what you're going to get, but with a bit more coaching . . ." he says.

"And that's what this Fiji bid will do: it'll give the boys the right coaching. It's a different language in the NRL and that's what the bid's really going to do, it's going to teach them the language. "They'll get picked up, 100 per cent, by NRL teams." Civoniceva hopes to hear from the NSWRL by the end of this month.

"We've been working hard on [it] for the last couple of years and we're really close now," he says.

"It's obviously a huge stepping stone for our local players into the NSW Cup. We're really excited, if we get the opportunity, that this could be a real exciting development in terms of Fiji on the world stage.

"There's some really big potential sponsorship sitting in the Pacific that I think we're missing out on . . . We've put together a really good case and it will ultimately come down to the decision by the NSWRL board but I'm really hopeful that we've done everything possible to get the right call."
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Fintan O'Laighin
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PostPosted: Tue May 24, 2016 8:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This'll be a great development. Let's hope that the match schedules consider fans and do what they do in Super Rugby, i.e. have a team play a few games on the road. I haven't looked at fares, but I imagine Sydney/Suva/Auckland/Sydney would be cheaper than separate flights to each venue. What a "road" trip that'd be.
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