Silktails set to stretch wings

NRL Ron Massey Cup Silvertails vs Windsor Wolves . Picture: NRL Photos/Gregg Porteous

Kaiviti Silktails winger Osea Natoga and first five-eighth Rusiate Baleitamavua will make their debut when they take on Hills Bulls in the Ron Massey Cup competition in Sydney today.

Coach Wes Naiqama has picked his side to face joint competition leaders Hills Bulls and will be witnessed by a strong Fijian support group at North Sydney Oval.

Naiqama, whose brother Kevin Naiqama plays wing for the Bears when he’s not in Trent Robinson’s NRL Roosters side, is just keen to get his players out on the field. Rounds three and four were washed out due to the weather.

“North Sydney Oval is such a great venue and my guys can’t wait to get out on the field after missing the last two weeks of football,” Naiqama said.

“It’s actually been a blessing in disguise for us as we got a lot of training done in that two-week period.

“As much as would have liked to keep that continuity from our first two games, I’m pretty happy with what we’ve been able to do in our sessions to get the team ready.”

Former Silktails centre Vuate Karawalevu will play his second game for the North Sydney Bears against the Canberra Raiders in a round six match for the The Knock-On Effect NSW Cup.

The 20-year-old scored a try in the Bears round one win over the Knights – his NSW Cup debut. Alongside his Silktails games in Ron Massey Cup last year, Karawalevu played five games for the Roosters Jersey Flegg side in 2021, scoring nine tries.

North Sydney Bears chief executive officer Gareth Holmes says it will be a real Fiji celebration and the timing couldn’t be better for the club.

“There is the link we have to the Roosters as their NRL feeder club and there’s the Silktails link with the Roosters.

“The Bears also have a relationship with the Hills Bulls – they feed into our lower grades sides,” he said.

Holmes, whose mother is Fijian, is anticipating some further harmonious melodies as the Pacific Islanders again use song to express thanks and gratitude.

“Last year we had Silktails captain Penioni Tagituimua play for the Bears.

“We had a magnificent response to his teammates coming along to watch him and then singing after the game.

“I’m hoping we get as many from the Fijian community as possible there on Saturday, although I realise it’s a challenge being the Easter weekend.”

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