27 Oct 2016

Sport: Fiji hoping to get NSW Cup green light

1:28 pm on 27 October 2016

Fiji could have their entry into the New South Wales Cup rugby league competition rubber stamped as early as Friday.

The bid team, which is being spearheaded by Petero Civoniceva, will make their case to the NSWRL Board as they aim to enter the reserve grade competition next year.

The consortium earlier in the year hosted NSWRL CEO Dave Todden to present their case and the final hurdle is to prove they have the financial and corporate backing to stand on their own two feet.

Civoniceva told AAP the push for a local team was born out of his experiences playing for the Fijian national side in the 2013 World Cup, where he heard first hand from his teammates the difficulty they had finding a pathway to the NRL.

"Unless they're scouted or found at school by an NRL scout, there's no real pathway into the game," Civoniceva told AAP.

"Someone like Suliasi (Vunivalu from the Melbourne Storm), he was in New Zealand and seen there playing rugby union.

"What we want is a direct, local pathway in a professional environment. We'll have a camp set up. They'll be fulltime and live out of it."

Fiji's Petero Civoniceva

Fiji's Petero Civoniceva Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The Fiji bid model is based on the PNG Hunters, who debuted in the Queensland Cup in 2014, making the playoffs in the past two seasons.

The Fiji Bid Team had initially hoped to join the NSW Cup in 2016 but was told by the NRL to hold off for 12 months to ensure they were completely ready.

Earlier this month, a Fijian team was confirmed to join Australia's National Rugby Competition.

Fiji National Rugby League CEO Timoci Naleba said having Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama as President of the Fiji Rugby Union helped push that proposal forward.

He had been told the Bid Team had been given a deadline of October 1 to raise a six figure sum for a 2017 debut.