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Fijian Origin series set to return after 20 years

The Fiji National Rugby League State of Origin series returns for the first time in over 20 years when the Eastern State Blues face the Western State Maroons at the ANZ Stadium in Suva this Saturday.

The concept, which was originally known as the Fiji East v West Championship, was first played in 1994 and run until 1998 before being replaced, with the Eastern Representative team winning the series that year.

The resurrected series will again, like in previous years, be a best of three series with the winner of the Men’s series taking out the Tanoa Trophy. The best Fijian Women’s players will also take part in the series, playing as curtain raisers to the Men’s fixtures.

Commenting on the return of the Origin series, FNRL acting Chief Executive Officer Don Natabe said the competition would put together the cream of local players.

“This year we have re-introduced the Vanua State of Origin in the 2020 rugby league calendar to be the most elite rugby league competition in the country.

“We are expecting a high level of rugby league games in the series and it provides a perfect platform for local-based players to put their hands up for selection in the Vodafone Fiji Bati squad for next year’s Rugby League World Cup. It will be a whole new experience for rugby league and a step-up from the domestic Fiji National Rugby League Vodafone Cup competition.”

Games Two and Three of the series will be held at Churchill Park with dates to be confirmed by the FNRL. Kick off for the Women’s Origin clash will be at 3:00pm, whilst the Men’s match will kick off at 5:00pm Local Time.

Western State Maroon Team (Men’s):
Rusiate Ratu (Saru Dragons), Tikiko Noke (Ravoravo Rabbitohs), Meli Nabura (Coastline Roos), Savenaca Naovuka (Sabeto Roosters), Maika Serulevu (Ravoravo Rabbitohs), Malakai Kovekalou (Saru Dragons), Iliesa Lulu (West Coast Storm), Panapasa Laba (Vatutoko Tigers), Ralulu Nasoki (Ravoravo Rabbitohs), Manoa Vilikesa (Burdenkin Roosters), Jone Nasau (Yasawa Saints), Naibuka Tuitakali (Saru Dragons), Nemia Nawave- (Coastline Roos), Nasoni Tuigaloa (Vatoko Tiger), Kelemedi Waqa (Saru Dragons), Netava Nayacalevu (Namoli West Tigers), Tuiwaisea Navurai (Vatutoko Tigers), Tomasi Navunilagi (Sabeto Roosters), Ilaisa Manoa- Vatutoko Tigers), Aporosa Nawaidranu (Yasawa Saints), Ilai Nareki (Coastline Roos), Simon Wise (Ravoravo Rabbitohs), Vereti Bukavesi (Ravoravo Rabbitohs), Ilaisa Vuda (Saru Dragons) and Apolosi Tuiloma- (Ravoravo Rabbitohs)

Eastern State Blues Team (Men’s):
Epeli Uluinavucu (Nadera Panthers), Apakuki Tavodi (Burenitu Cowboys), Melo (Army), Lekima Vuki (USP Raiders), Penioni Tagitauimua (Nadera Panthers), Komai (Army), Akuila (Makoi Bulldogs), Jegesa (Nabua Broncos), Eparama (Nadera Panthers), Jowasa Drodrolagi (Nabua Broncos), Halves Jason (USP Raiders), Mo Qionimacawa (USP Raiders), Mesake Kurukitoga (Nadera Panthers), Waisele Vesikula, Pio Seci (Nabua Broncos), Inoke (Kinoya Sea Eagles), Josua Camaisala (Burenitu Cowboys), Amini Siga (Nadera Panthers), Ropate Tobe (Army) and Pena Leveleve (Nabua Broncos).