18 Feb 2017

Sport: Nadi Aviators keen to do well in Melanesian Club Championship

12:18 pm on 18 February 2017

The Nadi Aviators are hoping to put a disruptive build-up behind them in today's Melanesian Club Championship Cup rugby league match against Lae Snax Tigers from Papua New Guinea.

Rain has fallen heavily in the lead-up to the clash at Lawaqa Park in Sigatoka, causing disruption to training sessions.

Nadi coach Vela Tawake said they have also had to cope with the loss of some key players from last year's National Inter-Zone Championship winning squad.

"Two of them have left and another one left last week. We have two [more] to leave on Monday but they've been given a chance to play the last game for us. Three are coming for rugby union in New Zealand...the other two have just left Nadi," he said.

The Melanesian Club Championship Cup was first held last year, with PNG's Digicel Cup premiers Agmark Gurias defeating Fiji's Sabeto Roosters 42 - 2 in Port Moresby.

Tawake said, with this year's fixture being played in Fiji, the Aviators are determined to even the ledger.

"It means a lot - especially for the boys, for everyone here in Nadi - especially for rugby league in Fiji - because we're trying to compare their level of semi-professionalism to ours, which is a lot different, the funding and everything else," he said.

The Lae team are dedicating this afternoon's match to the late Sir Henry Chow, a long-time supporter of rugby league in PNG and franchise owner of Lae Snax Tigers.