AUSTRALIAN Defence Force (ADF) Rugby League players have spent the day with members of the Republic of Fijian Military Forces who are part of the Fijian Rugby team, Kaiviti Silktails, championing their shared love of the sport and building stronger ties.
Minister for Defence Personnel Darren Chester said the visit to Victoria Barracks in Sydney had brought the groups closer as part of an ongoing training and mentoring program.
“It was an honour to have the Kaiviti Silktails visit Australia and spend time with the ADF Rugby League Team and the NRL. The training complements existing virtual training programs between the groups,” Mr Chester said.
“Training carried out by ADF Rugby League provides practical and theoretical advice to officials and players as well as accreditation for referees, coaches and sports trainers, and builds on the important relationship Australia holds with Fiji.”
The Kaiviti Silktails have set up home in Sydney to take part in the 2021 Ron Massey Cup. Supported and partly funded by the Federal Government under the Pacific Step-up initiative, the Silktails will play their first home game on 20 March.
“The training program is part of the broader Australian Government’s Pacific Step-up initiative and demonstrates the ADF’s commitment to sovereignty, stability, security and prosperity in the Pacific region,” Mr Chester said.
“Sport is a way for Australia to partner with other nations to enhance health, nutrition and fitness and embrace teamwork opportunities.
“The values of sport – competition, teamwork and fair play – help build trust between countries and bring people together.”
Like all arrivals into Australia, the Fijian military contingent was subject to the entry requirements of the Australian Border Force, which included mandatory quarantine.
Following the training in Sydney, ADF Rugby League will carry out a week-long virtual training program with up to 95 members of the Fijian Military Forces and Fiji National Rugby Team from 22-25 March.
The program will be run out of Kaiviti Silktails Centre of Excellence in Lautoka, Fiji with instructors participating virtually from Townsville and Sydney.