Our Fiji Bulikula team made history on Saturday 22nd June when we defeated PNG in our first ever Test Match.

Regardless of the result, their names will be etched in the history books forever.

There are no words to describe what that Saturday night meant to the women, and men too, of Fiji… rugby league has come such a long way as far as diversity is concerned, but our nation just had some catching up to do.

Fijian women have long been craving the opportunity to be included in the game’s international growth for female participation, and I’m honoured to have played a small role in making it all happen.

Game plan and match-coaching aside, my responsibility was simple – bring these girls together as a team.

Because we were all coming from different parts of the world, and barely anyone who anyone in the room.

I had a handful of girls come from Queensland, while the rest of the girls were scattered throughout Sydney and nine travelled over from Fiji.

Excitingly, three of those girls were rugby converts having played with the Fijian Olympic and Commonwealth games rugby union team. 

Timaima RAVISA, Roela Radiniyavuni and Jiowana Tautoa – each are contracted to the Auckland Warriors, and have shown tremendous potential switching over to rugby league.

But as I said… none of us knew anything of the person beside them, so my directive was to bring everyone together, and plant the foundation of our nation’s first women’s team the Fiji Bulikulas.

And when you only have a week to work with, you realise how quickly you have to get things moving.

You have to bring a team together and it isn’t always easy with the various personality types that you have to navigate through. Some girls are shy, others louder with stronger opinions, some are leaders and some like to be directed what to do, plus everyone learns differently too.

We had Devotion every morning and evening and this gelled us and brought us together like nothing I have ever seen before. I knew on the second day that our team was together as one and that made the rest of the week so much easier.

As far as the game was concerned, my direction to the coaching staff was to give every girl a role of what we want them to do, trying to make that as simple as possible, so that they understand their role and how to implement during the game.

All I wanted to see was our girls to play the game in the right spirit and play as a team and play how I knew they could play.

The girls from what I’ve seen Women’s rugby league in the last couple of years have really taken it upon themselves the get fitter, stronger, faster and more skilful.

The skill level has improved massively, so much so that now you have young girls playing from a young age that’ll will be so much further advanced than their current football heroes are now, whereas some of today’s players have only been playing the game for 12 months or less. 

You’ll see in the next ten years the skill level in women’s rugby league, around the world, will really start to sky-rocket to new heights.

I have been lucky in the past to have been Assistant  Coach to the late Steve Folkes with the Australian Jillaroos and also been the Head Coach of the QLD Women’s team as well and been around  those women representative players who have helped open up the path for women’s rugby league.

Young girls in Australia, growing up watching rugby league, are now looking up to their heroes, and that is what we’re out to replicate for the women in Fiji as well.

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We want them to know that they can play international rugby league for Fiji going forward, that they can aspire to be like their heroes and who knows some of them will hopefully put their hand up to play in the 2021 World Cup in England.

I said to our girls at the start of the camp that what they are doing is really important and they are laying a platform for the future Fiji Bulikulas  to follow, so make sure they set the bar high.

Thanks to these ladies the Fiji Bulikulas are now on the map and they are here to stay.