Members of the Wyong Roos, NSW Cup partners of the Sydney Roosters, last week visited Fiji where they spent time promoting rugby league.
Roos forward and Fiji Bati international, Eloni Vunakece, was among the group, who together with Wyong Assistant Coach Ian Bourke, Trainer Shane Selby and Football Manager Matt Lavin, attended training for their sister club, Coastline Roos, who play in the FNRL competition and also conducted some skills clinics at local schools.
“I’m extremely proud of my heritage so it’s always really exciting to visit Fiji,” said Vunakece.
“We visited a few villages and everyone we met was so welcoming and just loves rugby league. We held skills clinics for St Joan of Arc School and Sigatoka District School, and all the kids got right into it and had a blast,” he added.
Wyong also attended the Coastline Roos training session where Eloni, Ian and Shane conducted an advanced skills clinic. At the conclusion of the session, Wyong donated a number of Wyong Roos jerseys to their sister club.
“We ran some complex drills with the Coastline squad. They were all such enthusiastic participants and we definitely got to see some natural athletic talent on show,” said Wyong Roos Football Manager Matt Lavin.
That evening, the Wyong Roos were guests at the Coastline Roos Presentation Night, and were on hand to congratulate Charlie Wasilasia who was named the Coastline Roos Player of the Year. As part of his prize, Charlie was presented with a Sydney Roosters Captain America jersey, signed by Roosters enforcer Jared Waerea-Hargreaves.
Also on the itinerary for the Wyong Roos was a visit to remote village Vatubalavu in Novosa, where they held a training session for the Tuwalu Roosters.
“The village provided a full welcoming ceremony. The hospitality was amazing and something none of us will ever forget,” said Vunakece.
“The Sydney Roosters had donated a full set of jumpers, shorts and socks and the locals were overwhelmed and so excited to receive them,” said Wyong Roos Football Manager, Matt Lavin.
Speaking about the trip, Lavin added: “It was an unforgettable trip for all of us. Just to see how much everyone loves rugby league… we were so proud to represent the Wyong Roos and Sydney Roosters.
“The Coastline Roos will be visiting Australia in January to play in the Jason Annear 9s Tournament, and we’re looking forward to having the opportunity to reciprocate their hospitality and further strengthen our relationship,” he added.