April 10, 2021
Fiji-born winger Maika Sivo finally opened up why he did not leave the Parramatta Eels after receiving a better offer from other international clubs.
NRL.com revealed that even when it meant sacrificing the French rugby union’s several hundred thousand dollars, his parents always insisted he remains loyal and stays in the blue and gold jersey.
Despite attracting lucrative interest from overseas rugby, Sivo was the first of the Eels' off-contract stars to put pen to paper a two-year deal last month.
But following Fijian predecessor Semi Radradra into a multi-million-dollar deal in Europe never lingered long in Sivo's mind, with his new Parramatta salary understood to be worth significantly less, amounting to a six-figure sacrifice in the Eels winger.
But the message from Joeli and mother Mere couldn't have been clearer to Sivo when it came to his next contract.
"Parra were the first club to give me an opportunity to play NRL," Sivo told NRL.com.
"My parents always told me to stick with them because of that. They know I'm in good hands here and I'm very happy to stay for another two years. It was an easy decision for me to stay. I love this club.”
"I know the attraction in rugby. But I never thought in my mind to go there. I'm just very happy here, so that made it easy to choose staying with Parra. I can't see [myself] playing rugby league anywhere else, I don't want to wear anything but a Parra jumper.”
"I love the staff, the coach, and the group of players here."
The deal with the Eels also means Sivo to begin an Australian permanent residency application next year.
From the moment he started making a crust in rugby league, still only 50 NRL games ago; Sivo has been sending money back to his family in Fiji.
Renovations on his mother's home, one of around 130 houses in the tiny village of Momi in Nadi, is on Sivo's top list but delayed due to COVID-19.
"But I've got my carpenter coming back again soon for another quotation and I want to finish it before the end of the year.”
"I think it will be four or five bedrooms and we'll fix up the bathroom and kitchen for my family.”
"It feels so good to do something like that for my mum and dad. It's only the start. They've done so much for me since I was little growing up and this is my best way to repay them with a house."
He will stamp his mark tomorrow against the Dragons marking up on countryman Mikaela Ravalawa.
Sivo's 27 tries from 25 games at the venue make for a phenomenal strike rate, though Ravalawa has also made it a happy hunting ground with four tries from as many visits.
"I like to score tries obviously. But my work rate is what's important. That's what BA challenges me on and that's what I challenge myself on every week.”
"We talk about trying to make 15-plus carries every week, 150 metres-plus every week. That's the kind of thing we look at."
By Romeka Romena