13 Apr 2017

Sport: Fiji's NSW bid to have govt backing

1:37 pm on 13 April 2017

Fiji's bid to take part in the Australian domestic New South Wales rugby league competition could now have government backing.

This comes after the Fiji National Rugby League and former great Petero Civoniceva announced they were joining forces in their New South Wales Cup team bid.

FNRL chief executive officer Timoci Naleba said the government has seen the exposure given to Fiji through sports like rugby union.

Fiji National Rugby League CEO Timoci Naleba

Fiji National Rugby League CEO Timoci Naleba Photo: Youtube / Ruddy Bartley

He said funding could now follow.

"It's going to be a national initiative to have this competition approved by the New South Wales Rugby League because rugby [union] as a whole is quite a big industry here in Fiji," he said.

"So government is willing to consider having some sort of assistance to the bid and for that, government budget is due on July."

Mr Naleba said he hoped the bid would be strengthened by the collaboration of the FNRL and Civoniceva.

"Having Petero with his own bid and the FNRL with a separate bid, you would think that it would not work for us because of the lack of resources that we we currently have," he said.

"We think it is wise to at least start talking together and actually come to an agreement on the final shape of how we are going to proceed with the bid."

Naleba said he hoped to have a Fijian team in the NSW Cup either next year or in 2019.

He said the PNG Hunter's participation in the equivalent Queensland Cup showed the benefit of such bids.

He pointed to Papua New Guinea's international victory over Fiji last year.

"11 of those players are local boys, they are not in the NRL but they played in the [Queensland] Cup, so they don't actually have to play in the NRL to be able to competitive," Naleba said.

"That's what we have seen, so it is going to be a big boost to our local team and our local players to have that pathway."

Fiji's Petero Civoniceva

Petero Civoniceva, played for both the Bati and the Kangaroos Photo: PHOTOSPORT