Sunday, February 25, 2024
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Ravalawa ready to guide Bati from centre

Saint George Illawarra Dragons winger Mikaele Ravalawa is ready to stage and steer the young Vodafone Fiji Bati from the centre in the Pacific Bowl final showdown against the Papua New Guinea Kumuls tomorrow.

Without any hesitation, Ravalawa put his hand up to shift from wing to play centre for Bati after a shattered Penrith Panthers Sunia Turuva was ruled out with a calf injury on Wednesday.

“We have got an injury at the moment – Turuva is injured – so they pushed me into the centres to give a chance to the young bloke, so that is good,” Ravalawa told NRL.com.

“I don’t mind playing centre, it was a good experience. It is a bit harder defending in the centres because you have to defend two players, depending on what the attack is doing and fitness wise you move up and back, so it was good.”

After missing last year’s World Cup with a hamstring injury, Ravalawa has played just five Tests for the Bati but he is now a senior player in the young side being prepared by coach Wise Kativerata for the 2026 World Cup.

“I’m not really good at [talking] but it’s pretty much communicating with the young players.”

“For the young players coming up, it is a good experience for them and as a senior player, the young blokes are really good and show so much respect for the senior players.”

Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs forward Kitione Kautoga is one of the young Bati who is taking advantage of instructions from senior players like Ravalawa with a focus on the 2026 Rugby League World Cup selection.

“He has been good for myself, just telling me to play my own game and not to try to do things that that I don’t do on the field,” Kautoga said.

“He’s been good for me in that side of things.”

“Being in this team, I keep having to pinch myself whenever I look around and I see star players like Mika [Ravalawa], Maika and Sunia, who has just come off a premiership.”

“It’s been mad to be just alongside those boys, and I’ve just been picking their brains and learning what they do off the field to prepare themselves for big games like this.”

Fiji Bati will meet PNG Kumuls at 5pm at Santos National Football Stadium in Port Moresby tomorrow.

Romeka Romena
Romeka Romena
Journalist | news@fijilive.com

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