Staying on course

Eels bust Broncos as footy returns with a bang. Picture: NRL

It’S encouraging to note how some things in life are slowly getting back into place.

Take for instance international sports.

The resumption of the popular National Rugby League competition at the weekend was a positive development, at least for sports enthusiasts.

It was like a breath of fresh air.

After months of enforced isolation, fans were finally able to watch some live action on the television screen.

It brought back some excitement of a popular sporting event, and built up the hype surrounding the competition.

On the home front, it was good to see rugby giants Nadroga focused on a strong start when the domestic competition eventually resumes.

The union has a contingency plan to focus on team bonding and to bring the province together when sports restrictions are lifted in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Union president Tiko Matawalu said they had learned to improvise on the field when under pressure and they knew how to handle the situation post-pandemic.

“We had no choice but to review and start all over again with our planning. Part of that is to maintain our players’ body conditioning programs,” Matawalu said.

National 7s team representatives Aminiasi Tuimaba and Filimoni Botitu are focused on spots in the team to the Olympic Games next year.

That’s despite offers they have received to ply their trade in Europe.

Tuimaba said the Olympics remained their priority and they wanted to defend the 7s gold medal before they depart.

“We still want to play for Fiji in the Olympics and we’ve discussed this with our clubs if we could be released to play in the Olympics,” said Tuimaba.

“Every rugby player’s dream is to play in the Olympics.

“To be an Olympian is an honour, but to win a gold medal for my country would be a dream come true.”

In the NRL, it was inspiring to note how Fiji Bati forward King Vuniyayawa turned out an impressive effort for his New Zealand-based Warriors side.

The powerful forward helped his team demolish the Dragons 18-0 in the third round of the NRL on Saturday.

The Warriors led the Dragons 12-0 at half-time before King, 25, started from the bench to boost his team’s first victory after three games.

It was also an opportunity for the Warriors to kick-start a winning formula for the 2020 season.

In other NRL matches, Suliasi Vunivalu’s Melbourne Storm lost to Canberra Raiders 6-22 and the Wests Tigers tamed the Sharks 28-16.

The Roosters defeated the Rabbitohs 28-12, Cowboys hammered the Titans 36-6 and the Eels defeated the Broncos 34-6.

Viliame Kikau’s Penrith Panthers played the Newcastle Knights while the Sea Eagles took on the Bulldogs last night.

While there appears to be some semblance of order returning to our lives, we must remind ourselves today though that the COVID-19 pandemic is real.

It still has the world tightly in its grip.

With no vaccine in sight yet, we are reminded to continue to be vigilant.

We cannot afford to be complacent.

So adhere strictly to social distancing rules.

Do not shake hands!

No hugging please.

This is the new normal!

Minimise unnecessary contact with others. Sneeze into your elbow or into a tissue and dispose this safely immediately.

Wash your hands often with soap and water, and use a hand sanitiser if you have them.

Do not touch your face when you have to be out in public and adhere to the two metre rule.

Most importantly though, reduce unnecessary travel.

While it is encouraging to see some enjoyment returning to people’s lives in the face of great sadness and misfortune for thousands, we have a challenge to keep the virus at bay, and fight any opportunity for a second wave to take hold.

Together we can!

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