Seagulls second-rower Lamar Liolevave will make his Test debut for Fiji against Samoa at Eden Park in Auckland this Saturday – becoming the the Gulls’ fifth international selection this year, capping off an outstanding year for the club and its players.
The 23-year-old Auckland-born forward qualified for Fijian selection through his grand-father on his mother’s side.
Liolevave, who had one NRL appearance for Wests Tigers in 2015 and represented the Junior Kiwis in 2014 and Australian Schoolboys in 2013 from Keebra Park, finished this season strongly for the Ben Campbell Building Group Seagulls and missed only one match. He was outstanding in the one-point loss to Redcliffe in the first round of the finals.
His resilience and consistency has been superb in his three seasons on the Tweed, missing just one game in each season (he has played 66 games for the club) and winning the Col Hayes Trophy as the Seagulls’ best and fairest player in 2017.
Liolevave will come of the bench in the clash against Samoa (11.20am kick-off AEST) in a match that will feature plenty of top line NRL talent in Tim Lafai, Joey Leilua, Junior Paulo, Martin Taupau, Bunty Afoa (Samoa) and Suliasi Vinivalu, Kevin Naiqama, Kane Evans, Tui Kamikamica and Viliami Kikau (Fiji Bati).
Liolevave’s former Tweed Seagulls teammate Ben Nakubuwai, now with Super League’s 2019 grand finalists Salford in England, is also in the Fijian side as a starting second-rower.
The Bati team play against Papua New Guinea the following weekend. The Kumuls are likely to include the Seagulls’ Mal Meninga Cup star of this season, Xavier Coates, who is contracted to the Brisbane Broncos.
Liolevave becomes the fifth Seagulls to achieve senior international honours this season and the third Seagulls’ Fijian internationals after CJ Sims and Teaghan Hartigan represented their women’s team. Xavier Coates was chosen in the centres for Papua New Guinea in their clash with Samoa in June while Tarryn Aiken played for the Jillaroos in the recent World Nines.
Congratulations to all for their outstanding achievements in 2019.