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Familiar Faces and New Experiences Spurring Naiqama

Kevin Naiqama's arrival in December may have seemed to come from left-field, but there are two big reasons why popular Fijian figure has joined the Roosters: Trent Robinson and James Tedesco. 

Despite coming off three consecutive titles at St Helens in the Super League, the 32-year-old was adamant that the ship had well and truly sailed for a return to the NRL - but has now embraced the Club and settled into Moore Park. 

Round 1 Media - Kevin Naiqama

“To be honest, no, I didn’t," Naiqama admitted when asked if a chance would arise. 

“With the game developing and how fast it’s getting, I didn’t think there would be an opportunity to come back, especially at my age. The Club has shown faith in me and has seen that there is still some potential there, I’m very grateful for that.

“It’s a big blessing for myself and my family to come back and continue to do what I love doing. I’m really, really enjoying it.”

Not only will Naiqama reunite with friends and family back in Australia, but he will be linking up with two familiar faces in the Roosters' head coach and captain.

There’s just so much pride that runs in this jersey and the honour it is to wear it. At the end of the day, you’re just a caretaker of that jersey and you want to leave it in a better place than where it was as well.

Kevin Naiqama On wearing the Roosters jersey

The Fijian skipper played under Trent Robinson in the National Youth Competition whilst at Newcastle, before lining up alongside James Tedesco at the Wests Tigers.

The 113-game NRL veteran expressed his gratitude in reuniting with Robinson and was full of praise for Tedesco, having witnessed his growth and development as both a player and leader first-hand. 

"It was a long time ago, probably around thirteen or fourteen years ago now. When the Toyota Cup first came, he was our coach in the under 20s," he explained. 

"There was a great opportunity here at the Roosters; it’s a great Club, with a great coach in Trent Robinson, the assistant coaches he has with him and the players as well.

“I had a phone call with him and he expressed his plans and what he had for the Club and what they were looking for.

“It’s amazing to see how much he (Tedesco) has grown as a player and as the captain of our Club.

“He only continues to get better and that’s no coincidence; he’s one of our hardest workers at the Club, he’s the first one in and the last one to leave and he’s continued to try to help the players around him to get better.

“That’s just the person he is. He’s selfless but he’s also very talented and getting to connect with him has been great as well.

“I’m enjoying each day, I feel like I’m growing and learning and giving myself the best chance to be a better player and better person off the field as well.”

Now with an opportunity to claim a backline spot in the historic Round 1 double header against the Newcastle Knights, Roosters Members and supporters may see the flat-top haired winger sooner than they had anticipated. 

And Naiqama is just as primed to run onto the hallowed SCG turf and pull on the famous Roosters jersey, having embraced the Club's history in his short time at Moore Park. 

“The weight that ground holds, there are so many historic moments,” he beamed.

“To listen to past players and people who have been part of this Club for such a long time, it was really great to hear the history of the Club.

Round 1 Media - Angus Crichton

“There’s just so much pride that runs in this jersey and the honour it is to wear it. At the end of the day, you’re just a caretaker of that jersey and you want to leave it in a better place than where it was as well.

“I think it’s such a great thing for Women’s Rugby League and for young women who look to aspire to be Rugby League players. There are more and more women putting their hands up to play and I feel like it’s only the start of something that’s going to be great and will continue to grow.

“The opportunity to play at the SCG would be great. I’m just trying to train hard and put myself in the best position.”

Acknowledgement of Country

Sydney Roosters respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.