Prime Minister Honourable Sitiveni Rabuka launched the 2023 Vodafone Super 8 and Fiji National Rugby League Premierships competition at the Holiday Inn in Suva last night.
Prime Minister Rabuka, in delivering his official remarks, said that for over 30 years the sport has grown with success in reaching three semi-finals in a row at the Rugby League World Cup.
“Today, Fiji National Rugby League can boast the affiliations of 33 clubs throughout the country. I would like to acknowledge our corporate partners and sponsors who have stood with us over the years, without them, we would not have been as successful”, the Prime Minister said.
The remodeling of the competition structure to the Battle of the Vodafone Super 8 aims to showcase Fijian class rugby league with six teams from the eastern state and two from the western state over a period of 21 weeks.
The competition provides an elite environment for the best talented rugby league players to progress and compete at the highest level in our country.
This initiative will promote the players to secure professional contracts and development scholarships for both male and female players.
Prime Minister Rabuka urged the players to expect a tough competition that will require endurance.
“I say to our players, you carry heavy and important responsibility of representing your respective zones and taking the sport to another level of recognition.”
“I encourage you to draw inspiration from our pioneers and demonstrate the same tenacity and commitment of excellence that they had shown during their time,” the Prime Minister added.
The Head of the Coalition Government also acknowledged the Australian Government for the inclusion of the women’s competition at this year’s Super 8 battle.
The Australian Government is providing funding support of $93,000 (AUD) from the PacificAus sport through the Vuvale partnership.
“The Government of Fiji would like to convey our appreciation and gratitude to the Australia Government through the Charge De Affairs at the Australian High commission, Mr. Stewart Watts, for the financial provision towards the women’s program which I am certain, will continue to advance our vuvale partnership,” the Prime Minister stated.
The funding is specifically targeted towards Women’s Rugby League and female participation across all levels of the game, demonstrating the commitment to growing women’s participation in the sport.
The FNRL Chairman, ACP Aporosa Lutunagauna acknowledged the new commercial partnerships and synergies with peer organizations and the Fiji Government.
“We thank and acknowledge our partners, the Government of Australia and our Fiji Government for continuing to support us in developing the game.”
“Let me also acknowledge the long-standing relationship we’ve established and nurtured with Vodafone Fiji Ltd for the last one and a half decade, two different organizations sharing similar values and aspirations.”
“At the core of FNRL’s business is “people development”. How they train for and play rugby is tiny part of what we do. But how they take their talent and become productive global citizens is our ultimate reward,” Mr. Lutunagauna added.
The Vodafone Super 8 teams are:
1. Nadera Panthers
2. Saru Dragons
3. Vusu Raiders
4. Navy Albatross
5. Ravoravo Rabbitohs
6. Mataivalu Bears
7. Police Sharks
8. USP Raiders
FNRLW Top 8 teams are:
1. Police Blue
2. Lami Steelers
3. Yasawa Saints
4. Nadi Eels
5. West Coast Storm
6. Burenitu Cowboys
7. USP Raiders
8. Vusu Raiders