Wednesday, May 22, 2024
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Wong relishes Bati debut, ready for Storm clash

New Zealand-born Fijian forward Siua Wong was relishing his Fiji Bati debut at last year’s World Cup, believing it helped prepare him for the 2023 NRL finals with the Sydney Roosters.

The 20-year-old hasn’t ruled out switching international allegiances despite sharing Fijian, Samoan and Tongan heritage – as well as Chinese.

Wong, who has commanded a starting second-row berth for the Roosters since making his NRL debut in Round 18, is the son of New Zealand peace-keepers and he honoured his paternal grandfather, who is Fijian-Chinese, by playing for the Bati in England.

“I am pretty close with all of my family, and I want to represent them all,” Wong told NRL ahead of Friday night’s semi-final against the Storm in Melbourne.

“I had always thought I had to be loyal to one but at the end of the day I am all four of those cultures and for me to give back to my family I would don any of those jerseys if they were available to me.”

“When I play it isn’t just to represent myself but to represent my family as well, and if China has a team, I’ll rep them one day too.”

Wong earned a Fijian selection for the World Cup and he played every minute of the Bati’s campaign, which ended with a 24-18 quarter-final loss to the Kiwis.

“Playing for Fiji at the World Cup has helped me quite a bit because before the World Cup, I hadn’t debuted in the NRL, so it was my first time going up against real first graders,” Wong said.

“I think that experience gave me confidence leading into this season and I learned so much from guys like Api Koroisau and especially Viliame Kikau, because I was playing in the backrow. They were great leaders.

“The Fijian culture is grounded on faith and humility. That’s one thing that I always cherish.”

“Every time you see Fijians play, and every time you see them off the field, they’ve just got that happiness about them, and I think it all comes down to how they present themselves and how they express themselves.”

Wong revealed he grew up idolising All Blacks star Sonny Bill Williams, in whose footsteps he has followed.

“I still remember watching with my dad and my sister,” Wong said.

“Growing up I watched Sonny Bill and wanted to be like him.”

However, Wong’s sporting background is the reverse of Williams, who had never played rugby union

In his nine NRL appearances so far, Wong has spent time at second-row, lock, prop and centre – filling in for injured teammate Joey Manu.

Wong’s Roosters will face the Melbourne Storm at 9.50pm at AAMI Park, Melbourne on Friday.

Romeka Romena
Romeka Romena
Journalist | news@fijilive.com

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