COVID-19 may have derailed the Kaiviti Silktail’s inaugural season, but the Australian Government has pledged to support the team to come back even stronger in 2021.
Australia’s High Commissioner to Fiji, John Feakes, announced the support today during a visit to the Silktails headquarters in Lautoka.
“It was sad to see the Silktails season cut so short after such a promising start. I am pleased we can help the team to get through this period and come back even better next year” said Mr Feakes.
“Fijians have made a massive contribution to elite sports in Australia. The Silktails will provide a pathway for the next generation of Fijian stars to play rugby league in Australia” he added.
The Australian Government funding will help to retain key Silktails staff, upgrade the Silktails’ Centre of Excellence, establish a training facility in Sigatoka, support Fijian clubs’ participation in the 2020 Fiji National Rugby League competition and help secure a place for the Silktails in the 2021 NSWRL Ron Massey Cup.
Kaiviti Silktails’ Chairman, Petero Civoniceva, said “the Australian Government’s support will help us to strengthen our club so we are ready to hit the ground running in 2021.”
Civoniceva said “this is a tough time for a lot of people. But with the NRL restarting recently, it has been great to see our Fijian brothers, like Mika Sivo and Viliame Kikau, lighting up the field again and lifting spirits. Hopefully the Silktails will be able to do the same next year.”
The Silktails started the 2020 season well, with a dominant 40-16 win over the Windsor Wolves on 14 March. Unfortunately, it was the last game the team would play, with COVID-19 ending the competition shortly afterwards.
The Silktails was launched by Prime Minister Bainimarama and his Australian counterpart, Prime Minister Scott Morrison, during the Prime Minister’s XIII match in Suva on 11 October 2019.
The team is supported by PacificAus Sports, an Australian Government program which aims to strengthen Australia’s sports links with the Pacific.