It took six years to get Fiji’s rugby league club the Kaiviti
Silktails off the ground, and secure a spot in New South Wales second
tier competition, the Ron Massey Cup.

So players and management
were on high after their won their opening match back in March, but then
Covid-19 brought the team’s debut season to a shuddering halt.

A similar fate befell the PNG Hunters in the Queensland Cup, and their 2020 season has since been scrapped altogether.

And
now the Silktails have confirmed their season is over too, because
although there is still a chance the Ron Massey Cup might start up
again, the Fijian side have decided not to take part.

With travel
links between Fiji and Australia closed, and the prospect of being
based full time in NSW just too expensive anyway, the Silktails’ club
chairman, Petero Civoniceva, says they have little choice but to write
off their first season after just one round.

And now with Fiji
one of the six Pacific countries to have confirmed cases of Covid 19,
each of the Silktails’ players is having to get used to training alone,
but with some hi-tech assistance from an app developed in the NRL.

After
the one and only game of their season was won in Brisbane, the Hunters
had to endure two weeks in quarantine back in PNG, before they could go
home to their families.

Being Australian, their new coach Matt
Church didn’t travel back with his players, and now he’s directing
operations from across the sea.

With no more rugby league to be
played in 2020, there were serious concerns about the Hunters’ financial
position, but Church says their sponsors are still on board.

As it happens Matt Church and Petero Civoniceva are actually old school mates, and their hope is the Hunters and the Silktails will lock horns in the not too distant future, once rugby league starts up again.

Richard Ewart – Pacific Beat

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