Newcastle will etch its name in the record books when the Knights tackle the Melbourne Storm in the first-ever NRL-sanctioned match in Fiji next year.
Following a strong pre-season, with the introduction of newcomers Jed Cartwright, Jack Cogger, Kai Pearce-Paul, Tom Jenkins and Will Pryce, the Hunter-based club is expected to test itself against one of the competition’s best at Churchill Park, Lautoka, on Saturday 24 February.
The fixture also serves as Newcastle’s final hit-out before the 2024 season kicks off.
Storm CEO Justin Rodski, Fiji Bati captain Tui Kamikamica, Fiji’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation Viliame Gavoka, Fiji Airways chief marketing and customer officer Akuila Batiweti and Tourism Fiji CEO Brent Hill were on hand to make the announcement.
It coincides with several Melbourne partnership deals.
“We can’t wait to give Fijians the opportunity to see NRL stars up close and personal,” Rodski said.
“We already have a lot of Fijian talent within our game and this presents as an incredible chance to not only grow the sport we love but help develop the next wave of talent and, hopefully, give more young men and women the chance to play NRL or NRLW.
“We hope this trial game can be the launching pad for future NRL content to be played here in Fiji.
“The NRL has been working incredibly hard to expand the code internationally, to bring more fans to the game and deepen our talent pool.
“They have been very supportive of our plans to play in Fiji and we think this match will be a great way to fast track some of their plans.”
Mr Gavoka admitted he was thrilled to welcome the stars to Fiji.
“There is no better time to leverage major events,” he said.
“We have done in the past and will continue to do so.
“Our aim is to position Fiji as a destination of choice for such events and to ensure the benefits are far reaching with long-lasting impact beyond tourism numbers.”
Mr Hill echoed the Minister’s sentiment.
“This historic NRL clash aligns with our strategic efforts to showcase Fiji’s versatility and unique offerings,” he said.
“We believe this event will not only captivate sports enthusiasts but will also spotlight the country as a destination that seamlessly blends adventure and relaxation.”
Special travel packages including flights with Fiji Airways and accommodation are now available starting at $1,003 (AUD) via https://melbournestorm.yourholiday.me/
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