A visiting rugby team from Fiji has thanked hotel workers at the end of their 14-day quarantine by serenading them their balconies with a song.
The Fiji Silktails have travelled to compete in the Ron Massey Cup, two grades below the NRL, after the coronavirus pandemic caused their debut season in the competition last year to be called off.
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This year the Silktails will reside in the Sydney suburb of Mascot for the duration of the competition, having returned one year on from their ill-fated debut in the competition.
The 35-strong team is coached by former NRL player Wes Naiqama, who starred for St George Illawarra, Newcastle and Penrith over a nine-year career in the league.
Footage of the performance was shared widely on Facebook, with the beautiful harmony prompting passers by to stop and listen.
Paula Cazarine, who watched the beautiful moment from ground level, was full of praise for the team.
“The way Silktails found to say thank you to the hotel, guards and health workers during their quarantine at Sofitel Sydney is just so heartwarming!” she commented.
The Silktails are partially funded by the Australian government as part of a Pacific sports program, with team chairman Petero Civoniceva telling SEN Radio on Tuesday of the effort required to get this year's season organised.
“It’s been a great transition for the boys,” Civoniceva said.
“We’re looking forward to getting them into some comfortable surroundings.
“Obviously due to COVID we’ll be here for the entire season. But there’s a lot of excitement, a lot of great energy.
"I’m really looking forward to the players getting involved in the Ron Massey Cup this year.”
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Civoniceva said the club's ultimate goal was to become a viable pathway for Fijian players to rise through the ranks into the NRL.
While Fiji has traditionally been a rugby union heartland, Civoniceva said he believed times were beginning to change and more and more young players were open to pathways in league.
“It’s a real exciting opportunity to grow the game. In Fiji rugby union is seen as the premier code but in saying that the landscape is definitely starting to change,” he said.
“Those NRL Fijian stars like Api Korisau, Viliame Kikau and Waqa Blake have really started to inspire boys and girls to take up the game of rugby league.
“So we’re seeing a real interest in what we’re putting together here. It’s been a long road but I had the opportunity playing for Fiji at the 2013 World Cup to talk to a lot of the locals.
“And they told me the struggles in getting the opportunities to excel. Then the (PNG) Hunters came into the Queensland Cup and that was the catalyst in getting the Silktails concept up.
“So it’s great to be finally here. These are the first stepping stones for us to grow the game because there’s a huge future for league in Fiji.”
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