Silktails appoint captain for 2022 campaign

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It’s a case of back to the future for captain and prop Apakuki Tavodi of Kaivitia Silktails 2022. When the Fijian side made their debut in the Ron Massey Cup of NSWRL in 2020, Tavodi was named club captain.

“But the season only lasted one game,” Tavodi recalled of dropping out of the competition due to the COVID-19 virus.

Tavodi was captained for one game (13th round) in 2021 after a series of injuries prompted head coach Wes Naiqama to bring in his forward rower to lead the team.

“We didn’t finish the competition last year either,” he said.

However, Naiqama has again appointed Tavodi as skipper – this time for the 2022 season.

“I’m happy to have been chosen to lead the team again,” he said.

“There are a lot of young boys, so directing them on the pitch and showing them how hard we want to play and how strong we want to be is something I want to share with them.

“I have knowledge that I think will help them. There are a lot of new faces and they haven’t played any of their football at competitive level in Australia.

“A lot of them come straight from high school, and some are in the process of making the transition from rugby union to Rugby League, so there are challenges but I’m happy to lead them.

The 26-year-old can partly identify with this shift between the two codes of football.

“I started playing rugby in primary school and Rugby League in high school,” Tavodi said.

“But I found that I liked Rugby League more because it was a lot more physical. You have to be very strong and I think it’s a game that suits me better.

With just nine Silktails players from last year included in the 30-man squad that returned to Sydney in January, Tavodi is around his players watching them a lot.

“We get on well together and there is a positive energy within the group, despite the distance from home and the new surroundings,” he said.

“We know each other and that helps.”

Tavodi played 13 games last year at the prop, but also plays lock and No. 2. He has no positional preference; just a passion where he goes.

“The middle – anything in the middle.”

When the 2021 competition ended in July, after Round 15, the Kaiviti Silktails were sixth. The top five is the threshold for the Ron Massey Cup Final in 2022.

“It’s a new team in that many haven’t had a taste of what it’s like to play in the Ron Massey Cup, but that doesn’t change our focus or our goal for this year.” , Tavodi said.

“We want to be in the top five; we want to play finals.

A place in the Fiji Bati World Cup squad at the end of the season is another plus. Fiji were drawn in Group B alongside Italy, Scotland and Australia.

“I challenged our boys to always put your head down and work hard because if you do that, once you put your head up you’ll be somewhere better,” Tavodi said.

“So by the time the World Cup comes around, I’m sure you’ll see some of us there.”

Tavodi is an example of hard work. Last November, in the off-season, he obtained his bachelor’s degree in agriculture from the University of the South Pacific (USP) in Suva.

He is not alone. Five-eighth/half-back Mosese Qionimacawa holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from USP, while outside-back Timoci Bola holds a bachelor’s degree in commerce from Fiji National University.

Qionimacawa played for the Fijian Prime Minister’s XIII in 2019 and, like Tavodi and Bola, is in the hunt for World Cup honours.

The Silktails’ participation in the Ron Massey Cup of NSWRL is proudly supported by the Australian Government through PacificAus Sports.

The NSWRL receives funding from the Australian Government through PacificAus Sports to support the Silktails’ participation in the Ron Massey Cup of NSWRL.

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