27 Mar 2021

Kaiviti Silktails "excited" for belated season debut

6:28 am on 27 March 2021

The Kaiviti Silktails rugby league team will finally get their season underway this afternoon 44 days after relocating from Fiji to Australia.

The wait is almost over for the Kaiviti Silktails.

The wait is almost over for the Kaiviti Silktails. Photo: Facebook/Kaiviti Silktails

28 players and five management staff have moved to Sydney to compete in this year's Ron Massey Cup, after last year's competition was cancelled because of Covid-19.

The Silktails played a warm-up match two weeks ago but last weekend's season opener was postponed because of torrential rain across Sydney.

The squad did have an opposed session against the Sydney Roosters U21's and captain Penioni Tagituimua says everyone is eager to get out on the field again against St Marys.

The Kaiviti Silktails had an opposed session against the Sydney Roosters U21s last weekend.

The Kaiviti Silktails had an opposed session against the Sydney Roosters U21s last weekend. Photo: Facebook/Kaiviti Silktails

"I can see that in their eyes that they are so excited, very excited for this week's game because it's been a long time coming from Fiji pre-season," he said.

"It's been months the boys have been preparing for this game and for it to be cancelled last week it was very disappointing but there's nothing you can do about the weather, but the boys are very excited to jump into the ground and just play some footy."

Tagituimua scored two tries in the Silktails' first ever Ron Massey Cup match 12 months ago and said it's taken a long journey to get back to the start-line again.

"It's been a hard journey due to when Covid hit last year so obviously everything has to stop and then we start over again.

"We had to start playing again and then they want us to try and make a spot in the team and now that we're here I'm just excited to play with these young blokes, very talented young blokes."

The talented hooker, who made his test debut for the Fiji Bati two years ago, said the players have begun to settle into their new life in Sydney although it's not always easy being so far from home.

"I think the only hard thing was being away from family and most of them it's their first time leaving their family and then travelling abroad," he said.

"It's a bit hard for them and for us to live in our own apartments and units - I think it's a good thing that we live close to each other so we're just checking up on them, checking up on each other and then going to training and everything."

Head coach Wes Naiqama has stuck with the same line-up for this afternoon's clash against St Mary's that was picked to play the Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles last week.

Mascot Oval remains closed because of the torrential rain over the past week, with today's game shifted 35 kilometres away to McCredie Park in West Sydney.

Penioni Tagituimua said the team is just happy to be playing, although they won't have it easy against a St Mary's team who made a winning start two weeks ago.

"We know they're not going to be an easy team. They've been in the top four, they're like the comp favourites right now and they always finish in the top four in the past seasons and we're expecting a very good game from them."

PNG Hunters chasing first win

The Papua New Guinea Hunters are also in action today chasing their first win of the new season against the Ipswich Jets.

The 2017 champions, who have relocated to Queensland for the 2021 season, suffered a narrow 20-18 defeat in their season opener against Wynnum Manly Seagulls last weekend.

The PNG Hunters have relocated to Queensland for the 2021 Intrust Super Cup season.

The PNG Hunters have relocated to Queensland for the 2021 Intrust Super Cup season. Photo: Jim O'Reilly/QRL

That game came less than two weeks after the squad completed 31 days in quarantine.

Coach Matt Church has named an unchanged squad for their second round clash at Bycroft Oval and is backing his players to deliver against a Jets team that leaked eight tries in their first up loss against Townsville.

"We all know the style that Ipswich like to play - that contact type of football," he said.

"And we'll definitely have to do a fair bit of review on them because they can be quite lethal if you go to sleep on them so we'll make sure we stay awake and don't clock off and we can shut them down hopefully."

The Hunters have a strong record against the Jets, winning eight of their 12 previous matches, although the Ipswich have prevailed in the last two encounters.

"We know that they're predictably unpredictable so we don't expect that to change this weekend," Church said.

"They will chance their arm in attack and we have to work together in defence to defuse that, but we continue to spend most of our planning on our own tactics.

"We're still coming off that time in quarantine so we're going to keep getting better as the season continues."