23 Feb 2021

No hotel holiday for the Kaiviti Silktails rugby league team

3:10 pm on 23 February 2021

The Kaiviti Silktails rugby league team are one day from freedom as they approach the end of their two-week stay in managed isolation in Sydney.

The Kaiviti Silktails have relocated to Australia for the 2021 Ron Massey Cup season.

The Silktails are hoing to be able to train again soon, as they did in Fiji Photo: Facebook/Kaiviti Silktails

The Fijian side have relocated to New South Wales to compete in the Ron Massey Cup, after last year's competition was cancelled because of Covid-19.

28 players and five management staff departed Fiji on February the 10th and are due to be released from the Sofitel Hotel in Wentworth tomorrow provided they return a negative coronavirus test.

Despite being confined to their hotel rooms, head coach Wes Naiqama said the players have been keeping busy.

"We were able to deck out all the rooms with training gear so in actual fact we haven't lost any time with training," he said.

"We've made sure that we filled their days up with our schedule: with our devotion either side of the day morning and night plus they've got double (training) sessions during the day on top of group meetings."

The Silktails made a winning debut in the Ron Massey Cup, beating Windsor Wolves in last season's opening round before the season was brought to a halt.

But only eight players from last year's squad were retained for the 2021 campaign.

"They all went back to their clubs and they were put into their different pathway hubs along with another 80 players that joined them and they just had to play for their positions," former Fiji Bati centre Naiqama explained over the phone from the confines of his hotel room.

"These eight boys that went back they really applied themselves, they were playing well for their clubs respectively and all the other guys that come into the squad they were doing their bit too and through their performances with their clubs they got a spot in the final 28."

Wes Naiqama is also a Fiji Bati assistant coach.

Wes Naiqama is the Kaiviti Silktails head coach. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The Silktails will be based in Sydney for the entire 2021 season, and will play their home fixtures at Mascot Oval, a short drive from the airport.

Wes Naiqama spent a decade playing in the NRL and acknowledged it's a big sacrifice for the players to be away from their friends and families for seven months.

"To be living here it's going to be a massive culture shock for the boys but between the management and myself we've tried to let them know what to expect coming over here," he said.

"There's obviously excitement amongst the group but obviously some boys are nervous too and it's going to be a challenge, they're away from their families for seven months in another country. At the end of the day they've got goals as individuals and we've got goals as a team."

Wes Naiqama said if the players are willing to put in a bit of sacrifice hopefully they can do well in the Ron Massey Cup and some of the players can earn a contract with an NRL club.