HAWAIIAN CHIEFS READY
Hawaii’s first rugby league All Star team, the Chiefs, will debut this weekend against a visiting Queensland Indigenous All Stars side in a meeting of two cultures in Honolulu.
The Chiefs boast the best rugby football talent in Hawaii.
On the squad are USA Tomahawks Josh Rice and Jayson Rego, who have recently returned to Hawaii after spending this year honing their skills in Australia.
Other top line Hawaiians invited to turn out for the Chiefs include Dusten Umeda, Vai Notoa and Anthony Sunia to name a few. All have some international rugby league experience having represented the USA this year against Ireland, Tonga and Canada.
“This game is important on so many fronts,” says AMNRL Hawaii’s Kelly McGill. “The development and awareness of the game for Hawaii and the development and awareness of the quality of athlete we harbor here in the Islands.
“This game is a celebration of the Aboriginal and Hawaiian cultures and will showcase examples of individuals who are thriving despite the many obstacles they have faced in their lives.”
The fixture represents the second time international rugby league has come to Hawaii this season following the Test match between the Tomahawks and Tonga in May in Honolulu.
Preparing for the game has not been without its challenges for the Chiefs, although the core of the team features guys who played against Tonga.
“There are four to five of us that are regulars on the Tomahawks and three guys play in the Queensland Cup with Ipswich,” continues McGill. “From there we began holding mini camps and training sessions to start the process of selecting the best athletes to fill out the roster.
“While our progress has been evident in practice, the true test will be this Saturday when we face what can be considered the toughest competition any of us have ever faced.”
Based on the tremendous success of the Tonga match and the good crowd that turned up to see it, the American National Rugby League is confident of getting another boost for the sport in Hawaii.
“I think the premise is unique and addresses global issues, and I think the quality of players on both sides will make for a show,” adds McGill.
“It will be a show like no other and to have Cory Patterson and Tony Currie, two greats of the NRL, involved just confirms that this event is one that people want to be a part of.”
The match is scheduled to be played under lights Saturday, October 27 at Kaiser Stadium in Honolulu. Kickoff is set for 7pm. The curtain raiser will feature a Hawaiian Gridiron League exhibition game between East and West All Stars that starts at 4pm.