May 27, 2024

Rugby league: Storm, Knights confirmed for Lautoka game

The pre-season trial game between the Melbourne Storm and the Newcastle Knights, sanctioned by the National Rugby League (NRL) in Fiji, is seen as a significant step that could pave the way for more NRL games in the country. Scheduled for Saturday, February 24, at Churchill Park in Lautoka, the game is generating excitement about the future, according to Storm chief executive Justin Rodski.

During the announcement of the groundbreaking match in Fiji, Rodski, along with player Tui Kamikamica, Fiji’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation Viliame Gavoka, Fiji Airways Chief Marketing and Customer Officer Akuila Batiweti, and Tourism Fiji’s Brent Hill, expressed optimism about the potential for rugby league growth in Fiji. Rodski believes that this trial game could serve as a launchpad for future NRL events in the country.

Excitement was evident in Rodski’s statement: “We are very excited about bringing the first-ever NRL match to Fiji.” He acknowledged the crucial support from Fiji Airways and Tourism Fiji, emphasizing the opportunity for Fijians to witness NRL stars up close. Rodski highlighted the existing Fijian talent in the NRL and sees the trial game as a chance to foster the sport and cultivate the next generation of players.

Rodski also commended the NRL’s dedication to expanding the game globally, with Fiji being a key focus. He expressed gratitude for the NRL’s support in bringing the game to Fiji, considering it a significant step in the league’s international growth.

Storms players training in Melbourne last week. Photo: Storms

Akuila Batiweti of Fiji Airways emphasized the airline’s delight in sponsoring the NRL pre-season game, reinforcing their commitment to local communities and showcasing Fiji’s potential in sports tourism. He invited fans to fly to Fiji and witness high-caliber rugby league.

Deputy Prime Minister Viliame Gavoka emphasized leveraging major events to position Fiji as a premier destination. He expressed the intention to ensure lasting benefits beyond tourism numbers. Brent Hill echoed similar sentiments, seeing the historic NRL clash as an opportunity to spotlight Fiji’s versatility and unique offerings.

The Melbourne Storm’s engagement in Fiji extends beyond the match, with plans to connect with the local community, engage with schools and rugby league clubs, and provide inspiration and pathways for aspiring NRL players. The week leading up to the game will also include Storm’s annual business networking initiative in Fiji, involving 160 members of the Storm Executive Club.

To honor the significance of the match, the Storm will wear a specially designed training t-shirt during the week, and the match ball will feature traditional Fiji artwork.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *