Manly Sea Eagles lock Caleb Navale is living his childhood dream by following in the footsteps of his father and former Fiji Bati star Eparama.
After making his debut for Fiji Bati in their 22-18 win against the Cook Islands and scoring his first international test try in their huge 43-16 win over the PNG Kumuls, Caleb has already made a strong impact for the Bati in the Pacific Championships.
Running 230 metres and making 66 tackles, Caleb is restoring the Navale history on the international stage; some 23 years after Eparama represented Fiji at the 2000 Rugby League World Cup.
“It’s been unreal, the fans have been crazy. Tough footy, the weather is nice but it’s been very hot,” Caleb told NRL.com.
“It’s been unreal…it’s such a proud moment to wear the Fijian colours and to represent my nation. It’s been enjoyable every moment and something different here.”
“I want to make my Dad proud. It meant so much to him seeing his surname on the back of my jersey. It means so much to him, following his footsteps, playing for our country and hopefully, I can keep doing it.”
“It’s been a footy family the whole time for me. It’s a different experience to run in front of the huge PNG crowd and play here.”
Coming through the Manly Pathways program with the aim to play in Jersey Flegg for the Sea Eagles in 2024, Caleb loves ‘every moment’ of the Pacific Championships.
Today, it is the 20-year-old who is being spoken about for Fiji after being named in the Bati squad following a very strong season for the Sea Eagles where he took out the Jersey Flegg Best and Fairest award.
“It’s crazy to see all the fans here go wild seeing Maika Sivo and Mikaele Ravalawa. Professionalism wise I learned a lot from Tui Kamikamica in the way he carries himself in being a leader in the training and just following in his footsteps as well.”
“Apart from winning here, it’s about getting exposure here playing alongside some of the big NRL players whom I used to watch on TV.”
“I’m very happy at Manly and hope to get a good season at the club,” he added.