In a historical first for local rugby league, four players from the Sabeto Roosters and Saru Dragons rugby league clubs departed yesterday to join the Gulf Isapea team in Papua New Guinea.
The imports include Rooster’s center forwards Semi Wainiqolo, Jone Uneune and Livai Nairogo, as well as Dragons’ fullback Netava Rarokoliwa. Their recruitment follows a successful scouting session at Ba Provincial Secondary School two weeks ago, and is part of a pilot provincial club partnership between Gulf Isapea and league clubs in the province of Ba.
Gulf Isapea chairman Jacob Ivaroa was part of the six-member panel and returned this week to take his club imports to Port Moresby, where they will join their new team members in time for the start of the 2014 season on April 13.
Sabeto Roosters coach Vela Tawake said such an initiative would hopefully open many other doors for other aspiring league players and he was grateful for the opportunity it offered to showcase other local talents.
“We hope to sustain this provincial club partnership, not just for these four players, but for others, on a long term basis,’’ he said.
Tawake noted that as the first lot of players to be part of this pilot recruitment into Gulf Isapea, they were banking on the boys to perform well both on and off the field, as part of efforts to also pave the way for further progress.
The four were farewelled Tuesday night in Nadi and will be contracted to Isapea for the upcoming season.
Tawake said employment opportunities were guaranteed, as part of their contracts.
Suva (Fiji Sun)