Local World Cup hopefuls
By STEVE SPINKS
MARIST BROTHERS has a genuine prospect of having two of its rugby league players involved in next year's Rugby League World Cup.
But they won't be playing for Australia.
Wise Kativerata and Niko Vakararawa, both members of the Brethren's first grade team, have been sounded out about appearing for Fiji in league's showpiece tournament.
"They (the selectors) have rang me already and asked if I'm available," Kativerata told The Northern Star.
"I'm looking at it hard at the moment because I would have to organise the business at the same time.
"But at this stage I have said okay."
Kativerata a former NRL first grader with St George-Illawarra, Souths and Parramatta is an obvious choice for Fijian selectors.
Vakararawa, on the other hand, has played in the relative obscurity of the Northern Rivers for the past seven years. "I had a talk to Niko about it the other day to see if he was interested," Kativerata said.
"At this stage there are a few things that we have to go through but it will be up to Niko."
Kativerata says he has been keeping up with his work in the gym and circuit training to remain fit, while also training with Brothers.
Both players remain connected to their homeland, with Kativerata only visiting Fiji last month.
"It's always good to come back to the village," he said.
"There is only 80 people in my village, so it is relaxing."
The only other local player with a realistic hope of playing in the tournament is Casino's Matt King, also a former Brothers first grader.
However, the big Melbourne Storm centre is moving to the English Super League at the end of this season and in doing so will forfeit his chances of selection for NSW or Australia.
Kativerata and Vakararawa will both have big influences on whether Brothers continue in the Retravision Northern League this season.
The duo will play for the Brethren against the Tweed Coast Raiders in the minor semi-final at Cabarita this Saturday.