Big Petero on mission for Fijian rugby league
QUEENSLAND legend Petero Civoniceva loves one thing as much as beating New South Wales, and that's seeing the game develop in Fiji.
The former Queensland, Australia and Fiji representative was a proud onlooker as the Bati defeated Papua New Guinea 22-10 in the Pacific Test at the start of this month.
Civoniceva, a Maroons legend of 33 games, has been lobbying NSWRL hierarchy in his efforts to establish a Fiji team in the NSW Cup from next year, much like the PNG Hunters in Queensland's Intrust Super Cup.
The Hunters have captured the imagination of a league-mad country, and they finished a respectable sixth in their inaugural season last year.
Civoniceva is envisioning something similar with a Fiji team in the NSW competition.
"I've been working hard with it - it's taken me about 18 months of hard work," Civoniceva told APN.
"But if I can continue to keep plugging along, it'll be a real chance.
"All the signs are positive at the moment. It'll provide a great opportunity for Fijian players to experience a professional system."
Civoniceva believes a Fiji team in the NSW Cup would only make the Bati more competitive at international level.
"Thinking ahead to a World Cup and the Pacific Island Tests we'll have coming up, the signs are great," he said.
"If you look at our forward pack, that's always been something where Fiji is more known for producing outside backs.
"But we've got some young guys coming through now, like the Saifiti brothers (19-year-olds Daniel and Jacob in the Knights' system) and big (Cowboys under-20 prop) Viliame Kikau - they've got huge futures."