Pacific Islands prepare for league test match blockbuster

first_imgNearly 50 of the players involved are already on NRL rosters. Saturday’s blockbuster schedule will see the Junior Kangaroos take on their Kiwi counterparts, before Fiji and Papua New Guinea lock horns. Samoa will clash with Tonga in the second test. “It’s definitely going to be physical, no player is going to be holding back, it’s just the history of the two nations,” Samoa captain Frank Pritchard told SBS News. “Come Saturday I’m sure there will be a lot of fans running on the ground at the end of the game.” Fiji captain James Storer said he had no doubt Pacific Islanders were almost born to play rugby league. “You look at Fijians naturally, rugby league is their game,” he said. “Look at Semi Radradra – it’s just an example, but there is a lot of them boys back in Fiji just waiting to get their chance.” Pacific Island players have long been a part of the NRL. Frank Puletua, the NRL’s recognition and award manager, knows first-hand just how much the face of the game has changed in the last two decades. Puletua played for the Penrith Panthers in the 1990s when almost the only other Pacific Islander in the team was his brother Tony. “When myself and my brother were coming through the ranks there was probably two or three of us,” he said. “It’s over about half the team now are Pacific Island players.”(Fiji will take on Papua New Guinea in the test match double-header this weekend.)last_img