Fiji to get NSW reserve grade league team
FIji will have a team in the second-tier NSW Cup by 2021, with the Pacific nation to take its biggest leap in rugby league.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed on Friday in Fiji that the Kaiviti Silktails would play in the Ron Massey Cup next year before entering reserve grade in 2021.
It comes after a Papua New Guinea team began playing in the Queensland Cup in 2013, winning the competition in 2017.
“This is a great part of Fiji’s welcoming in to the NRL in Australia,” the prime minister announced at Friday night’s PM’s XIII match in Suva.
"This is going to create a great opportunity for young Fijian players coming through the ranks to be exposed to rugby league in Australia.
"I think you will get a good following from the Aussies who will love the brand of rugby league you are going to play.
Fiji have supplied several stars in recent years to the NRL, most notably 2019 leading try-scorer Maika Sivo at Parramatta.
Marika Koroibete and Semi Radradra are other players to have grown up in Fiji before starring this decade in the league.
Friday night’s match in Fiji was also the first time the PM’s XIII side had travelled to the country instead of PNG.
There has also been the introduction of the Oceania Cup this year, which includes Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Samoa, PNG and rapidly improving Tonga.
“One of the most-important things is that we are engaging the Pacific,” ARL Commission chairman Peter Beattie said.
"The Pacific is the most rapidly growing part of the game outside of Australia … You’ve seen that with Tonga.
"We need to get players out of Fiji to get NRL experience … If they are getting NRL experience like the Tongan players do, they are going to grow.
“Hopefully, in five-10 years, you’re going to see Test-quality teams coming out of not just Tonga, but Fiji, Samoa and PNG.”