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Team mates battle for the first time at Pacific Tri-Nations Test
8:20 pm GMT+12, 12/10/2017, Fiji

Saturday's Pacific Tri-Nations Test offers the first opportunity for Melbourne Storm captain Cameron Smith and fellow star club player and Fiji Bati winger Suliasi Vunivalu to play against each other.
 
"I have played against a few of those players (Fiji Bati), Suliasi Vunivalu being the main man. I have never played against him, to tackle him," Smith said last night.
 
"I think it will be a great game."
 
Smith, on his third visit to Fiji and first to play rugby league, arrived with the Australian Kangaroos side to play the Pacific Tri-Nations Test against the Vodafone Fiji Bati and the PNG Kumuls at the ANZ Stadium tomorrow.
 
Smith said they had a few new players and they were excited to see them perform in the Tri-Nations.
 
"It is a good start to our Rugby League World Cup. All players are really excited about the game and it is great to have our families over to experience a bit of fun in Fiji. We expect to put on a good show and hopefully we will score some good tries."
 
Australian coach Mal Meninga is using this Tri-Nations as a camp for his players who are the defending champions of the Rugby League World Cup.
 
"We want to make an impression in Fiji that rugby league is a great game," Meninga said.
 
The coach also will use the Tri-Nations to give some of his players who have not played for a while some match fitness and practice.
 
"We have brought all our full squad of 24 players and their families, it's going to be a pretty arduous campaign during the World Cup and hopefully we'll get through to the final.
 
"We will spend six weeks away from our families so this is a good opportunity for us to spend time with our families before the start of our campaign."
 
Meninga said Fiji had an opportunity to see some of the best rugby league players in the world tomorrow.
 
"We are here to put our best foot forward in terms of our preparation for the RLWC. Fiji has a fantastic team and the Kumuls also have a strong side. It's going to be a highly entertaining game, 120 minutes of rugby league and hopefully the teams will put on a good show," Meninga said.
 
Kangaroo second rower Aaron Woods highlighted they would be playing extra harder against some of their teammates in the Papua New Guinea Kumuls and Vodafone Fiji Bati.
 
"It is always good to play against one of your teammates. You have a lot of fun and will probably be going in a little harder as well.
 
"The 40 or 80 minutes that you will be playing against them, is something that you will be looking forward to. And afterwards have a beer or lemonade with them," Woods said.
 
His comments was centred around the questions put to him of his thoughts playing against some of his State of Origin New South Wales teammates Jarryd Hayne and Akuila Uate.
 
The 10 time world champions will also be treating the Tri-Nations as a testing ground for their 24-member 2017 RLWC squad.
 
It also allows their players some match fitness and game time heading in to the RLWC later this year.
They have also made an unprecedented move, with players travelling over with their families to witness the historic matchup.
 
Given this is also a first ever Tri-Nations test match to be held, where the Kumuls would be playing the Australian Kangaroos in the first 40 minutes, then Kumuls against the Fiji Bati in the second 40, then finally it would be the Fiji Bati against the Australian Kangaroos.
 
"We are looking forward to it, I have never played here before I have played in PNG, so we are looking forward.
 
"The weather is nice and warm and it has been cold lately in Sydney so it is something we are looking forward to."
 
He said they were also looking forward to mingling with some of the locals and playing a good game of rugby league this Saturday.
 
The Tri-Nation is set to kick off at 5pm, this Saturday at the ANZ Stadium, Laucala Bay, Suva.

SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS


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