New South Wales Isaac Lumelume. The Queensland Under 20's vs the New South Wales Under 20's at Suncorp Stadium. Pic Peter Wallis
New South Wales Isaac Lumelume. The Queensland Under 20's vs the New South Wales Under 20's at Suncorp Stadium. Pic Peter Wallis

Storm trial Fijian talent to replace Suliasi Vunivalu

The Storm have parachuted two Fijians into Melbourne for a pre-season training trial after Suliasi Vunivalu's bombshell decision to sign with the ARU.

In a move that continues Melbourne's proud Pacific production line, the Storm are considering signing Siti Moceidreke as a potential wing replacement for Vunivalu and Ben Nakubuwai to play alongside fellow Fijian Test prop Tui Kamikamica in the front row.

Sunshine Coast Falcons flyer Moceidreke and former English Super League prop Nakubuwai have spent the pre-season in Melbourne training with the Storm.

Isaac Lumelume si already part of the Storm squad. Photo: Peter Wallis
Isaac Lumelume si already part of the Storm squad. Photo: Peter Wallis

Melbourne would have an unprecedented five Fijians on their books should they sign the pair to the club that turned Marcus Bai, Marika Koroibete and Vunivalu into NRL stars.

Moceidreke is firming to land a spot with Josh Addo-Carr also likely to quit the Storm at the end of the year, which would leave the club without a winger.

Fijians Isaac Lumelume and Tui Kamikamica are already contracted to the Storm, and Vunivalu will switch to Queensland Reds rugby in 2021.

 

Sunshine Coast Falcons fullback Siti Moceidreke will get his shot at the Storm.
Sunshine Coast Falcons fullback Siti Moceidreke will get his shot at the Storm.

 

"We always have a Fijian on the boil somewhere," Melbourne recruitment manager Paul Bunn said.

"I have a strong personal opinion on Fijians and I know what great athletes they are, also what type of people they are. We always have a Fijian in development.''

Moceidreke and Lumelume are outside backs in line to replace Vunivalu and Nakubuwai is hoping to join Kamikamica in the Storm pack.

"We haven't had a great deal of luck other than Tui in the forwards,'' Bunn said.

"But we have unearthed plenty of backs. They are such great kids. I have known so many over the years."

 

Ben Nakubuwai has spent preseason in Melbourne. Photo: Glenn Hampson
Ben Nakubuwai has spent preseason in Melbourne. Photo: Glenn Hampson

 

MELBOURNE'S FAB FIVE

Siti Moceidreke, 25, Fullback

An outside back who has played in the halves, Moceidreke has been brought down to Melbourne for the 2020 pre-season. Contracted to the Storm through feeder club the Sunshine Falcons, the 25-year-old was a standout in the Queensland Cup and has played one NRL game, making his debut with the Rabbitohs in 2017.

 

Ben Nakubuwai, 23, Prop

Son of dual Fijian international Pio Kubuewai, Nakubuwai has also spent the pre-season training with the Storm after quitting the English Super League to return to Australia. Spotted and signed by the Storm when he was 17, the 110kg prop left Melbourne to play with the Gold Coast Titans and then the Salford Devils.

 

Isaac Lumelume, 21, Centre

A NSW Under-20s representative, Lumelume made his debut for Fiji this year in their 56-14 win over Lebanon. A hard-running centre, Lumelume was released by the Sharks mid-year to take up a full-time deal with the Storm after being spotted in the one-off Test.

 

Tui Kamikamica is oging from strength to strength under Bellamy. Photo: AAP Image/Scott Barbour
Tui Kamikamica is oging from strength to strength under Bellamy. Photo: AAP Image/Scott Barbour

 

Tui Kamikamica, 25, Prop

Born in the Fijian village of Somosomo, Kamikamica has already established himself as an NRL wrecking ball. The 110kg prop has played 28 matches for the Storm since making his debut in 2017.

 

Suliasi Vunivalu, 24, Winger

The flying Fijian will play his final year with the Storm in 2020 before leaving the NRL to play rugby union. Vunivalu signed a two year deal with Australian Rugby and the Queensland Red, worth $900,000 a year.


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