Bati named; Sims, Saifiti brothers and Blake miss out

Fiji Bati head coach Joe Rabele, middle, announcing the Fiji Bati 31-member World Cup squad at a press conference held at the Fiji National Rugby League office in Suva on Tuesday, September 06, 2022. With him are FNRL acting CEO Don Natabe, left, and Pastor Ilaitia Tagituimua. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

The Sims brothers and the Saifiti twins were the big names missing from the Vodafone Fiji Bati Rugby League World Cup squad named by head coach Josaia Rabele in England yesterday.

The Fiji Bati’s first game is against Australia on October 15.

Korbin Sims, who is playing in the Super League for Hull KR and brother Tariq, Daniel and Jacob Saifiti were earlier named to be part of the squad.

Rabbitohs winger Taane Milne, who was also part of the squad, is facing six weeks on the sideline for a horror high shot on Spencer Leniu in South Sydney’s 32-12 preliminary final loss to Penrith.

He will not be part of the RLWC campaign.

Eels winger Waqa Blake and hooker Joe Lovodua are also not in the squad.

Former Nabua Broncos hitman Jowasa Drodrolagi, who plys his trade in France will make his return to the national team.

Former Naitasiri fullback Vuate Karawalevu, Manly Sea Eagles player Pio Seci and former Fiji 7s and Suva player Taniela Sadrugu, who signed a senior team deal with the Cowboys, will strengthen the forward pack.

Rising star Sunia Turuva will be a player to watch in the tournament.

Penrith Panthers duo Api Koroisau and Viliame Kikau as well as Eels speedster Maika Sivo are expected to join the side in England.

Several other NRL players in the squad include Storm and Taveuni man Tui Kamikamica, St George Illawarra winger Mikaele Ravalawa, Raiders centre Semi Valemei, Bulldogs halfback Brandon Wakeham, and Isaac Lumelume
were the NRL players with experience.

Kevin Naiqama is likely to captain the side with King Vuniyayawa, Sitiveni Moceidreke and Ben Nakubuwai who are all based in the UK complete the camp set up.

Squad:

Apisai Koroisau, Ben Nakubuwai, Braydon Wakeham, Henry Raiwalui, Isaac Lumelume, Joseph Vakacereivalu, Joshua Wongh, Jowasa Drodrolagi, Kevin Naiqama, King Vuniyayawa, Kylen Miller, Lamar Liolevave, Maika Sivo, Mekaele Ravalawa, Netane Masima, Penioni Tagituimua, Pio Seci, Semi Valemei, Sitiveni Moceidreke, Sunia Turuva,
Taniela Sadrugu, Tui Kamikamica, Viliame Kikau, Vuate Karawalevu.

Coach: Josaia Dakuitoga

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