With preparations for the upcoming Fa’aleo Tupi Cup well underway for all teams, exciting news comes from the Northside Tongan Barbarians team regarding official coaching and player leadership appointments. The appointments see names strongly linked with the traditional roots of the team proudly continue to this day.
The Northside Tongan Barbarians have named Motekiai Kite and Caroline Vakalahi as the coaches of this year’s side. Both Kite and Vakalahi have strong family ties to the team and both are just beginnining their venture into the coaching ranks after hanging up the boots.
Vakalahi is a two time Rugby World Cup Wallaroo whose father Semisi was one of the founding members of the Northside Tongan Barabarians team. Vakalahi’s appointment is an especially important one, as it is the first time in the history of Queensland Tonga Rugby a female has held a coaching role with men, but one she undoubtedly deserves considering her massive contribution to rugby.
Kite’s tie to the sky blue and maroons is through having seen all four brothers including himself turn out for the team in the past.
The captain of this year’s squad will be Samiuela Satui, the incumbent Queensland Tonga Rugby Union captain, and he will carry the responsibility of not only leading the team but also ushering in the next wave of talented rugby union players from Northside Tongan community. Pending NRC commitments and availability Satui will be assisted by vice captain University premier grade player Tonga Ma’afu and fellow leadership group member, Brothers number 8 Criff Tupou.
“We will prepare as though guys like Nela (Taniela Tupou), Criff and Tonga wont be available, and if they are it will be bonus not just for us but for the community.”
“Its just pleasing to see so many new faces at training from the area, keen to have a run, and will be a great opportunity to find the next talented Tongan rugby players from the Northside and hopefully get them into a coveted Queensland Tonga jersey.”
Aside from that, coach Kite was also pleased to see the the interest the tournament was creating with the elders of the community, with old faces starting to show up at training and supporting where they can, a great indicator of just how much it means to look after those traditional family links to the past.
Captain Samiuela Satui was another stoic supporter of the reintroduction of the tournament.
“In the past we were’nt ready for this, but with Queensland Tonga bringing the Tongan rugby community together over the last 3 or 4 years, all the players now understands the bigger picture that we are one, and it does not matter if you playing in sky blue and maroon (Northside Tongan Barbarians), green and white (Logan Inala Tonga), or white and red (Alamuhu), we are all united in our desire to represent Queensland Tonga and be positive role models in the community.”
Will all this goodwill however, there is no doubt that just like the other teams, the Northside Tongan Barbarians will be looking to put their best foot forward to stake their claims towards the Fa’aleo Tupi cup. Make sure you clear your schedules to see the rebirth of the three foundation Queensland Tongan teams.
Queensland Tongan village rugby union is back…. and back for good!!!
Watch out for upcoming news and write ups on the other Tongan teams, Alamuhu and Logan Inala coming soon.
By James Kite