Boys following in family footsteps
Mundubbera players show their skills at Cairns event
THERE is not a rugby club in the North Burnett, yet two boys from Mundubbera were both standouts in Cairns at the state rugby trials.
Testament to their inherent ball skills, Metali Havili (MJ) and Peli Feki were outstanding and led the Wide Bay U15s rugby union team.
The two boys performed like seasoned rugby players.
“I travelled with them and was so proud of their commitment and personal growth during the whole experience,” Tongan liaison officer Julie Tucker said.
As members of the Wide Bay team, the boys travelled to Cairns and attended the carnival held over four days.
“The players were valiant and fought hard to make their mark, but unfortunately weren’t able to come up with a win,” Ms Tucker said.
“The only Wide Bay points scored for the competition came off the boot of Metali, who kicked a penalty goal.”
In spite of their position on the table, the two boys had a thoroughly enjoyable time.
“To me it didn’t matter that we didn’t win the carnival, what mattered was that we had some great rugby moments and we both had some awesome experiences,” second rower Metali said.
“Playing against lads from all over Queensland was a great experience and one I felt privileged to have had.”
Metali signed with the Central Queensland Bushrangers and attended City v Country Championships at Southport this year.
He has accepted an invitation from ex-Wallaby Paul Carozza to attend a Queensland Reds Elite Talent Camp during the school holidays.
It was Peli’s first year playing union at this rep level and it is the second for Metali, who played last year at the state championships in Brisbane.
“We didn’t play for the score and even though we didn’t win we played from the heart,” Peli said.
“Most importantly we played for each other, that was all we had.”
It was the boys’ first visit to Cairns and they fell in love with the place. Both boys are Tongan born, Peli from Sydney, Metali from Auckland.
“We both come from a proud rugby heritage with some big names in our families,” Peli said.
“Super Rugby players Wycliffe Palu, Mark Gerard, Sione and Tomasi Kolo are Metali’s cousins and my dad played for and captained Tonga in his earlier rugby career,” he said.
Both boys also have relatives playing in the NRL.
Metali’s family home was flooded last year.
They lived in the caravan park till late in the year. The boys will finish Year 10 this year and attend Burnett State College next year.
PROUD PAIR: Metali Havili (MJ) and Peli Feki played for the Wide Bay Under-15 rugby union team.