Vodafone Fiji Bulikula head coach Josaia Rabele has named a strong 20-member squad for the upcoming Women’s Rugby League World Cup qualifier against Samoa.
Rabele has named 12 players from the National Rugby League Women’s competition and eight local-based players from the Vodafone Cup this year.
“Selection was based on the ladies who were playing NRLW in Australia,” Rabele said in a press conference in Suva today.
“We had two players from Fijiana Drua, Vitalina Naikore and Merewalesi Rokouono, moving to the North Queensland Cowboys this year.”
“We have selected the players based on their fitness conducted. The players from Australia were selected based on their experience playing in the NRLW because we were given short notice.”
Rabele said to boost their preparations and qualify for the World Cup against Samoa, it was important to select experienced players from Australia.
“It’s going to be a challenge for us because the last game we played was in 2019. Now it’s time to re-build the team through the Academy program where we have 60 female local-based players.”
“We are not there to make up numbers, we are there to compete and give our best.”
“This is a good build-up since it’s the World Cup qualifier round against Samoa. Next year we have another round where we aim to get positive results from both for the 2026 Women’s Rugby League World Cup.”
Rabele said the Bulikula will depart for Australia on Sunday for a week of training before they fly to PNG to play Samoa on 15th October at Football Stadium in Port Moresby.
Fiji Bulikula: Ana Raduva, Anastasia Shum, Cassandra Staples, Ema Rainima, Josephine Maejiirs (C), Patricia Raikadroka, Sienna Laing, Siniva SaAnga, Talei Holmes, Teaghan Lai, Sereana Naitokatoka, Aliti Namoce, Mere Kilawekana, Grace Waqa, Adi Sakula Waqa, Asena Rokomarama, Vitalina Naikore, Merewalesi Rokouono, Salote Sukakinamena, Asenaca Diranuve.