The NSW Blues have been named for the first game of the 2017 #Origin series.
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The Australian Fijian side were pooled alongside NSW Koori's and Portugal in pool 3 of the St.Marys Sevens.
The team comprised of Joe Delana, Pete Delaivuna, Colin Clarke, Nacanieli Kinikini, Eparama Navale(c), Venaia Navutovuto, Pio Rokomaqisa, Naibuka Tuiloa, Etuate Tuvai, Eloni Vunakece, Livai Wara, Samu Wara, Peceli Wawavanua. Esala Vute(Travelling reserve) Coach: Steve Driscoll Manager: Phill Browne Physio: Mark Beaven
The Australian Fijians faced a tough NSW Koori outfit first up which featured former grade players such as Leo Dynevor and Ronald Prince. In a very close fought contest, the Australian Fijians triumphed 26-16.
The next assisgment was against unknown quanitites Portugal. "We didn't know what to expect as Portugal are relatively newcomers to International Rugby League" said Navale.
The Australian Fijians started a little shaky but finished the job off with a 50-10 victory over Portugal.
Going through on top of pool 3, the team were next to meet the winners of Pool 4 which happened to be the Cook Islands.
In a game that could have gone either way, the Australian Fijians scraped home 30-22 with one of the tries of the tournament scored right on the final hooter. Delana kicked through for his winger, Navutovuto. Navutovuto plucked the ball in mid air and ran 20 metres to score a spectacular try that brought the crowd to there feet.
The Australian Fijians then progressed into the Cup Final against NRL club, the Wests Tigers. "We have nothing to lose, everyone thinks they will win this. Let's go out there and do the basics right and we can win" said Coach Driscoll
In a spectacular final, the Australian Fijians led 4-0 at the break. The Wests Tigers hit back shortly after halftime with the Australian Fijians then scoring outwide to take a lead of 8-4. With less than a minute to go a Wests Tigers player made a clean break, only for Nacanieli Kinikini to cut him down metres from the tryline. The Australian Fijians held onto win taking home the $AUD3000 first prize cheque.
"I'd like to thank god, my team mates and coaching staff for this great day. Also a special mention to all the Fijian supporters who came out and cheered us home. Vinaka Vaka Levu!" said captain Navale.
The team would like to thank our sponsors ISC, Captain Cook Cruises and the Moore Park Broncos.