The Fiji National Rugby League Eastern Academy will have a match against Kirwan State High School from Australia on June 16 and 19, says Vodafone Fiji Bati head coach Wise Kativerata.
The Eastern Academy comes under the FNRL and serves as a development pathway for students, who wish to pursue a career in the sport.
“Most of these players from Kirwan State High are already contracted with NRL clubs in Australia,” Kativerata said.
The academy consists of players from schools that participated in the Fiji Secondary School Rugby League Vodafone Trophy.
“We have boys from Mahatma Gandhi Memorial High School, Lelean Memorial School, Nasinu Secondary School, Ratu Sukuna Memorial School, and Marist Brothers High School,” he said.
“While it’s a good thing for us to have this academy, most of our players here are 16 and 17 years old.
“Most of the 18-year-olds are withheld by their school to prepare for the Vodafone Deans Trophy competition later this year.”
Kativerata said this would be a good opportunity for players of the academy to prove their worth, as several overseas scouts would be watching the match.
“There will be about three scouts from NRL clubs when the teams meet.
“This could be a life-changing opportunity for our boys if they can secure contracts or scholarships.”
Kativerata said their main focus was to help young talented players get contracts to play professionally overseas.
“That’s what I’m here to do, to help get these talented young men overseas and give them a chance in life,” he said.
“We want to provide a pathway; all they have to do is put in the hard work.”
Kativerata told his players to think of the struggles and hardships they faced at home and use this as motivation to work harder and achieve their goals.
“Most of these boys come from struggling backgrounds.
“I always tell them that this could be an opportunity to change their life and be able to support their family.
“And that is enough to get them hyped during training sessions.
“If they don’t get picked that’s not my problem, I have done my part in giving them a chance, the training, and the pathway, all they have to do is put in the work.”