Monday, March 4, 2024
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Athleticism of Fijians is incredible: Maejiirs

Fiji Bulikula captain Josephine Maejiirs believes the athleticism of  Fijian girls is incredible and says she wants to bring young talent to the NRLW to assist the team build up for a shot at the next World Cup.

In comparison, Samoa and Tonga have much greater depth of talent to draw from the NRLW but Maejiirs wants to help change that as the three nations and the Cook Islands prepare to vye for a place in the 2026 World Cup.

“Our goal is to get into the World Cup and be competitive,” Maejiirs told NRL.com.

“There are going to be more Pacific Test matches leading up the qualification for the World Cup so that is why I am encouraging all of these young girls to come through so that we can prepare them for these upcoming games.

“There are not many Fijian girls in the NRLW compared to Samoa and Tonga, but the athleticism of the Fijian girls is incredible so we will work with them to pass on our experience.”

Maejiirs, who plays for the South Sydney Rabbitohs, is involved with a company that helps young Fijian players obtain education visas for Australia.

“We help them come to Australia, we give them accommodation, help them to study and then I can work with them to get into an NRL club, like the Rabbitohs or Bulldogs.”

“That way we can grow our player base and come polished and ready for the next Test match, instead of them having only played local matches in Fiji.”

“That is my dream. I want to get these girls over and get them exposed to the coaching level, the playing environment and the professionalism.”

Among the local talents in the Bulikula squad is 21-year-old playmaker Grace Waqa, who is currently studying at the University of the South Pacific and was selected from USP Raiders.

Waqa has switched codes from rugby union and wants to play in the NRLW, alongside the likes of Cronulla’s Cassie Staples, Talei Holmes and Sereana Naitokatoka, and North Queensland’s Vitalina Naikore and Merewalesi Rokouono.

“It is such an experience to come over here and play with these girls. We are learning more from them every day,” Waqa said.

“I hope I can continue this rugby league journey and play in the NRLW,” she said.

Romeka Romena
Romeka Romena
Journalist | news@fijilive.com

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